Knowledge at the Margins

Last update 05 November 2003

A virtual journey through the outlying areas of Accra, illustrating the nature of physical and electronic communication questions what the "knowledge economy" mean for locations such as Adenta, Ghana is available here

To put these issues in a global context, visit the on-line Atlas of Cyberspace .

Other African material is available via Africa Links

Adenta, Accra, Ghana, August 2001

Proponents of globalisation argue for market-driven approaches to access to knowledge and information. However, these mechanisms are not dependable even in developed contexts.

The Odyssey Group is an open network of organisation researchers who meet in physical and cyber-space to discuss and enact the implications of the current generation of Information and Communication Technologies.

In August/September 2001 the Group collaborated in a workshop at the Centre for Social Policy Studies, University of Ghana, Legon.

The workshop has worked within the limitations of existing resources to explore robust and effective tactics for skills transfer and sustainable learning. The aim is to leverage the resources of a key academic centre and to

For example, the CSPS has produced a Ghana Social Index which provides a graphical representation of social data by region. This material was shifted to a free web-site in order to make it more widely available, and as a counter-balance to the wealth of web-based material on Africa produced and controlled from outside the continent.

The Greenstar Ghana project at Patriensah, east of Kumasi, demonstrates an alternative route via state-of-the-art connectivity. Bringing state-of-the-art technology into remoter locations has been a recurring theme during the emergence of the "virtual economy" . In the 1980s the Centre Mondial Informatique et Ressources Humaines in Paris promoted the use of state-of-the-art solar-powered portable computing technology in Saharan and sub-Saharan Africa. During the 1990s theTanami Network was established with government support to serve aboriginal communites in Outback Australia through state-of-the-art satellite technology. However, subsequent projects have made greater use of existing infrastructure.

TheWizzy Digital Courier offers a simple means of reducing the digital divide by inserting a physical courier service between high cost local internet connections and broadband acces points.

A Community Information Resource Centre, a community owned project in Atteridgeville, Gauteng, is described on the MOST Best Practice For Human Settlements site.

A paper by three members of the Odyssey Group describing the forms and uses of the access developing at the margins is available, in HTML format, with live links here. Using examples from Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan and Canada, the paper demonstrates a more complex interaction between traditional cultural practices and modern communication forms than that assumed by most understandings of globalisation.

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This page is maintained by
Stephen Little
Head, Centre for Innovation, Knowledge and Enterprise
Open University Business School
Milton Keynes, U.K.