About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 3114-3122
Publication year: 2010
ISBN: 978-84-613-5538-9
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-10 March, 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain

A SOCIO-TECHNOLOGICAL STORY : THE SAGA OF A HUMANITARIAN PROJECT – THE $100 LAPTOP – AND THE LIMITS OF THE UNITED NATIONS’ CONCEPT OF MULTI-STAKEHOLDERS PARTNERSHIP

F. Cishahayo, O. Kamga

University of Sudbury (CANADA)
Our communication aims at examining the humanitarian project One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) to question the concept of the Multi-stakeholders Partnership put forth by the United Nations. The OLPC project, introduced by the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2005, was designed to provide children of poor countries a computer at the cost of $100. The XO, as the computer was called, will be equipped with a free processor based on Linux and open source software. Unfortunately, the open source computer was short-lived. Moreover, by means of negotiation with those interested in the OLPC project, MIT and its partners actually created a new generation of XO equipped with a proprietary system: Microsoft Windows. We use the concept of ‘actor-network’ borrowed from the sociology of innovation to account for the multi-faceted negotiations which presided over the transformation of the technical object. Using this concept, we particularly want to challenge the idea that collaboration between heterogeneous actors will accomplish a common project. For Bruno Latour, the actor-network is developed through alliances and breaking off of relations between actors, which are functions of the actors’ interests, the profits they may expect, their strategic positioning, in sum, of various forms of gratification. The theorists of mediation consider that the stability of the actor-network depends on the solidity of the alliances between its many actors. They view the process of innovation as characterized by “confrontations and tests of resistance regarding the associations." (Quéré, 1989) In turn, these associations endow innovation with stability and potential for diffusion. Confrontations and tests of resistance will cause some actors to abandon the OLPC project, disenchanted by the integration of a money-making dimension, and therefore, the erosion of the humanitarian spirit which presided over its birth. In the heart of the Multi-stakeholders Partnership, there is a notion of collaboration, the idea of the mobilization of private sector actors, NGOs, international organizations as well as States to achieve development projects. The United Nations presents this concept as "the new and relevant means of international co-operation, in particular in order to bridge the digital divide and to promote sustainable and interdependent development.” The outcome of the OLPC project makes it necessary to question the validity or the efficiency of a partnership between actors with ill-assorted interests and asymmetric positions of strength to achieve an international development project.
@InProceedings{CISHAHAYO2010ASO,
author = {Cishahayo, F. and Kamga, O.},
title = {A SOCIO-TECHNOLOGICAL STORY : THE SAGA OF A HUMANITARIAN PROJECT – THE $100 LAPTOP – AND THE LIMITS OF THE UNITED NATIONS’ CONCEPT OF MULTI-STAKEHOLDERS PARTNERSHIP},
series = {4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2010 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-5538-9},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {8-10 March, 2010},
year = {2010},
pages = {3114-3122}}
TY - CONF
AU - F. Cishahayo AU - O. Kamga
TI - A SOCIO-TECHNOLOGICAL STORY : THE SAGA OF A HUMANITARIAN PROJECT – THE $100 LAPTOP – AND THE LIMITS OF THE UNITED NATIONS’ CONCEPT OF MULTI-STAKEHOLDERS PARTNERSHIP
SN - 978-84-613-5538-9/2340-1079
PY - 2010
Y1 - 8-10 March, 2010
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2010 Proceedings
SP - 3114
EP - 3122
ER -
F. Cishahayo, O. Kamga (2010) A SOCIO-TECHNOLOGICAL STORY : THE SAGA OF A HUMANITARIAN PROJECT – THE $100 LAPTOP – AND THE LIMITS OF THE UNITED NATIONS’ CONCEPT OF MULTI-STAKEHOLDERS PARTNERSHIP, INTED2010 Proceedings, pp. 3114-3122.
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