A Framework for Understanding the Link Between ICT and Development: How Affordances Influence Capabilities
Understanding the role of ICT in development is at the core of the ICT4D field. However, while most agree that ICT do contribute to development, the question of how is still not fully explored. In this research-in-progress, we propose a framework that combines two theoretical lenses, the choice framework (that is based on the capability approach) and affordances, to increase our understanding of ICTs role in the development process. The capability approach considers development as freedoms for people to live the lives they have a reason to value. The affordance theory describes action possibilities allowed by material properties, thereby allowing the examination of how individuals explore material properties of information systems with the objective of enhancing their capabilities. We argue that, by combining the choice framework with affordances we can better explain the role of ICT in the development process, and explain how individuals’ agency and social structures influence their ability to perceive affordances in their interaction with the ICT.