80% of Indonesia's vast territory is rural areas, with more than 72,000 villages. Even so, more than 50% of Indonesia's population in 2013 lives in the city. The process of urbanization has resulted in dense urban areas in Indonesia, especially in big cities in Java. However from the approximately 30 million poor people in Indonesia, two-third of them live in the countryside.
Thus, one of development programs planned by the government is a rural development program by providing and installing computers with internet access. They assume that the economy of a region can be increased if they have enough information. It aims to improve the lives of rural communities from an economic standpoint so that they can keep pace with urban life. However, in the process of development itself there are always social and cultural aspects that must be considered, because those developments programs deal with people and society. These social and cultural aspects of a development have unfortunately still not become the focus of the development itself.
Furthermore, there are problems of digital divide and knowledge gap that exist between people in urban and in rural areas. This often leads to problems in the implementation of government’s development program. The proponents of the installation of ICT infrastructure have always said that the developing/poor countries have a chance to ‘leapfrog’ the phase of modernization and industrialization so they would have sufficient knowledge to compete with developed countries and enter the phase of knowledge-based information economy/society.
This research aims to question (1) the concept of development communication used by the Indonesian government in rural-agrarian areas of Indonesia, which arguably very positivist, top-down, and one sided; (2) the process of integration of new ICTs especially the internet in rural daily life; (3) civic engagement in this integration process; (4) the impact of new ICTs on people’s daily lives in rural areas; and (5) whether the process of ‘leapfrogging’ to the information society would really happen. This research is designed to be qualitative and ethnographic.
Erstgutachter: Prof. Dr. Kai Hafez (Universität Erfurt)