Human-Computer Interaction: Ergonomics and User Interfaces - Vol. 1

By Hans-Jörg Bullinger; Jürgen Ziegler | Go to book overview

Another Software for Another Society?

Apala Lahiri Chavan
ZindaGUI
G412 Lokdarshan, Military Road
Mumbai
India


1
Globalisation-What does it mean?

We are moving towards the twenty first century with uncertainty. Globalisation, as a kind of myth of our times, is hard to grasp. The word 'globalisation' can be interpreted in many ways. In its most uncontroversial sense, globalisation refers to the 'rapidly developing process of complex interconnections between societies, cultures, institutions and individuals worldwide. It is a process which involves compression of time and space, shrinking distances through a dramatic reduction in the time taken - either physically or representationally - to cross them, so making the world seem smaller and in a certain sense bringing human beings 'closer' to one another. But it is also a process which stretches social relations, removing the relationships which govern our everyday lives from local contexts to global ones'.( Tomlinson, 1997)

It is in fact this shift in context that becomes an important issue for Third World countries, when dealing with globalisation and its effects, especially where technology is concerned. The foremost consideration of any technology imported from foreign countries, including computer software, is how well it integrates with local conditions. Here the question of dependency cannot be ignored because one source of dependency problems is the importation of a foreign technology into a cultural environment where the values are at variance with those of the exporting country.

The bias of the technology itself is complicated by the inability of the new environment to put the technology to use with its own software and instead having to use 'one size fits all' software. Another concern with the kind of globalisation that leads to one size fits all software is the reduction of local cultural space. Whether a community is able to develop its own cultural identity largely depends upon local cultural space people can control. If people are to be 'beings for themselves' ( Freire, 1972), they need sufficient cultural space to define their identity autonomously. If this space is not adequately provided or acquired, people become 'beings for others.

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