School of Built Environment and Development Studies Seminar 

Title: Capabilities in practice and collective sense-making – Reflections on the experience of co-constructing the Choice Framework 2.0 with a user group in a South African context. 

Speaker: Dorothea Kleine, Director, ICT4D Centre at Royal Holloway, University of London 

Date : 11 March, 2015  

Time: 12h30 – 13h50 

Venue: Seminar Room F213, School of Built Environment and Development Studies, Memorial Tower Building, UKZN. Google maps: -29.866933,30.981963 

Abstract: In Technologies of Choice (MIT Press, 2013), Dorothea Kleine offered the Choice Framework (CF) as a tool to operationalize the capabilities approach to development in the area of ICT4D and beyond. The capabilities approach, as proposed by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, argues that development should focus on the substantive freedoms people have to lead the lives they have reason to value (Sen 1999). This approach is the most prominent heterodox approach to development and offers a culturally pluralistic and participatory perspective. In the final chapter of the book, Dorothea suggests that the CF is a “living tool” which can be used, amended and re-shaped, to support analysis and project design by academics and by practitioners. Since then, many researchers and practitioners have used the CF in different areas of ICT4D, and an international network of CF users is emerging, applying and developing the “living tool” in different ways. Dorothea is currently undertaking fieldwork in rural South Africa at the invitation of the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), to explore with practitioners the potential of co-developing one version of CF 2.0. Questions include: How well does the framework travel from one cultural context (Chile) to another (South Africa)? How might collective action aspects be integrated? Which parts of the CF might translate into the practices of this user group? What, if any, is the added value of a systemic mapping tool in project practice and design? 

Biography: Dorothea Kleine is Reader in Human Geography and Director of the Information and Communication for Development (ICT4D) Centre at Royal Holloway, University of London ( This interdisciplinary Centre brings together 10 academics and 13 doctoral researchers as well as students on the Masters in Practising Sustainable Development (including the ICT4D specialism).

Dorothea has published widely on development, technology, choice, sustainability, youth, and gender. Her most recent book is Technologies of Choice: ICTs, Development and the Capabilities Approach (MIT Press, 2013). Her work ranges from policy analysis and theoretical work to participatory action research, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and learning.  She has conducted collaborative research with and/or advised UNICEF, UNEP, EuropeAid, DFID, GIZ, the private sector and NGOs. She is a former Managing Editor of the Information Technologies and International Development journal and serves on its Editorial Board, as well as on the ICTD conference series Senior Programme Committee. Her commitment to help shape the field of ICT4D continues as Associate Editor, with David Grimshaw, of the inaugural ICT4D section with 25 entries in the International Encyclopedia of Digital Communication and Society Communication (ICA-Wiley, 2015).

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