Introduction: Information, Knowledge and Power
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The idea that ‘knowledge itself is power’ is not new; but at the global level, this dictum is now truer than ever, as a result of rapid advances in information technology in the North. Increasingly, knowledge (including the capacity to create it) is becoming a key economic input which, at the extreme, supersedes land, capital and labour in importance. The revolution in information technology and communications has direct implications for the South and for development studies: not only in obvious ways (e.g. in the generation of statistics and satellite images); but also in less predictable ways, notably the emergence of participatory methods for data collection and analysis. Participatory techniques, just like changes in more conventional sources of information, are in part a result of – and dependent on – the international communications revolution. Innovation in information is not intrinsically bad, but it is driven by the North and by northern agendas. Drawing together work carried out at IDS and elsewhere, this Bulletin explores the implications of this change for development. It focuses on the ways in which information is – or is not – used in decision-makingwhich affects development policy, planning and practice.
Is part of seriesIDS Bulletin;47.6