Contribution to Social Science

bookcoverThird World Citizens and the Information Technology Revolution crosses disciplinary boundaries. It is anchored in political science and critical international political economy, but draws on theories from the sociology of knowledge and the political philosophy of cosmopolitanism. Moreover, it builds on a critical realist epistemo- logical foundation. This work offers a number of contributions to the social sciences:

1.   An alternative to the established development paradigm.

Third World Citizens and the IT Revolution offers a new perspective on the connection between information technology and human autonomy or empowerment. While most development experts have sought to empower people in poor countries by diffusing technology, this study holds that we must first and foremost democratize decision structures at all levels of human interaction.

2.   A model for studying the creation and implementation of regimes from a critical perspective.

Theorists of international relations have studied regimes (= rules of the game that apply to a spe- cific issue area) since the 1980s. What is new about this study is that it examines both the creation and the enforcement of the IT regime and shows that regimes have the ability to change the make- up of states.

3.   An example of critical realism at work.

Critical realism is a European philosophy of science that is virtually unknown among American political scientists. This book applies critical realism and thereby demonstrates how this philoso- phy can support an emancipatory approach to political science.

4.   A demonstration that single case studies can yield generalizable causal inferences.

Relying on the positivist approach to generalization, which is based on correlational analysis, U.S. political scientists have long strug- gled with the question how case study research can yield causal in- ferences that apply not only to the case under study but also to oth- er, unexamined cases. By using critical realism rather than positiv- ism, this book shows that a single case can indeed lend itself to such causal inference.

5.   A study that shares the sensitivity of dependency theory but transcends this theory’s limitations.

The analytical framework employed in Third World Citizens and the IT Revolution transcends and renews the approach of one of its intellectual predecessors, dependency theory, thereby invigorating this research tradition.

6.   Insights into the politics of Egypt.

This study provides new insights into the politics of Egypt, particularly as they pertain to information technology.

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