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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Young people, computers and the Internet in Niger
Author:Alzouma, GadoISNI
Periodical:Journal of African Media Studies (ISSN 1751-7974)
Geographic term:Niger
Abstract:This article explores how computers and the Internet are represented among young, educated people in Niger and the social expectations that are attached to their use. It argues that pre-existing social and economic conditions play an important role in shaping the meanings associated with these devices. Thus, in a context of poverty and unemployment, the Internet and computers are perceived as technologies that may help young people and their country integrate into a modern world of economic opportunities and well-being via the transnational and transcultural interactions that take place in cyberspace. The Internet is associated with the ideas of modernity and 'leapfrogging' development. However, because of the lack of computer equipment and adequate infrastructure, these expectations are largely exaggerated, and they divert attention from the actual possibilities for change that reside in people and not in technological devices. The research is based on fieldwork conducted among young, educated computer and Internet users during the summers of 2003 and 2004 in Niamey, the capital city of Niger, and further complemented by data collected in 2008. Semi-structured interviews were used to explore the reception of the Internet and the representations associated with them. Although the term 'educated' may sometimes refer to traditional or Arabic/Islamic education in Niger, the author restricted the use of the word to refer to modern Western-style education. Bibliogr., note. [Journal abstract]