Americanizing Palestine Through Internet


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Americanizing Palestine Through Internet

  1. 1. Chapter 1: Americanizing Palestine Though Internet Development Helga Tawil-Souri<br />Information Society & MulticulturalismProfessor Han Woo Park<br />Presented by<br />Se Jung Park<br />2009.10.1<br />
  2. 2. IT4Youth is internet development project in the Palestinian Territories. It describes itself as a nonprofit project. <br />It’s aim is enhancing the learning skills and employability of Palestinian youth through the creation of in-school computer labs and regional IT centers open to the public.<br />The program is a collaborative mission between two NGOs, the Welfare Association and International Youth Foundation, US Agency, the Intel Corporation, other US-based corporations. <br />The case of IT4Youth<br />
  3. 3. IT4 Youth’s goal is to “build a ‘digital bridge’, reducing the digital divide and helping to create a educational playing field for Palestinian youth.” It hopes to develop a pool of IT proficiant youth and national IT industry.<br />The project provides implications on the role of the Internet in non-Western societies and the development process.<br />The objectives of this chapter are not only to heighten awareness of local Internet practices but also to analyze the relationship between communication technology, development, and the expansion of capitalism.<br />
  4. 4. Palestinian government has had little direct involvement in pursuing a managed IT strategy. Internet develoment has been driven by foreign privaate donors andmostly American NGOs.<br />The Second Intifada opened the way for making the Internet “one of the few growth industries in the Plestinian economy.”<br />Behind iInternet growth<br />
  5. 5. Intetnet usage in Palestine<br />Sources from<br />
  6. 6. The popularity and use of the Internet in Palestine society hasn’t been universal. There is a clear divide along class and geographical lines. <br />The Internet and other new media are more popular among the elete(urban, middle-upper class, educated, employed citizens).<br />Based on in-depth interviews, observations, usage statistics at IT4Youth, the new mediun is used as an online dating service and entertainment tool, <br /> (Online game, chatting.) but rarely as an ecomonic neccessity of for the political struggle. <br />Toward a digital divide?<br />
  7. 7. In palestine, like IT4Youth project ensures Palestinians’ status as “developed” but it causes Americanization of Palestinian society. <br />1) The need for competence in the English language<br />2) The increasing number of Amercan capital, finally, the uncritical adoption of neoliberal strategies for develoment <br />The Americanization of IT development<br />
  8. 8. Actually, the Internet requires English proficiency.<br />One young man said “of course there are Arabic wesites, but we all know that the world of the Internet is the world of English.”<br /> His friend added “I think to use the Internet without knowing English is to miss a lot.”<br />Without knowledge of English, the Internet <br /> was limited and limiting.<br />
  9. 9. Americanization is taking place in the material realm through the dominace of American NGOs and corporations as the forces behind Internet development.<br />In every sector of Internet development, the majority of projects have been driven by the interests of American nonpofit, for-profit organizations.<br />Expansion of American capital<br />
  10. 10. This is perpetuated expecially as peace processes and negociations continue to be sponsored by the US. <br />So, this brings out Palestinian policies are globally oriented rather than internally. <br />Eventually, Palestine becomes a node in the blobal expansion and exchange of American capital<br />The Americanization of IT development<br />
  11. 11. It is important to recognize the chansges have happened at a particular time in history and are charged with a particular ideology in the Territories. <br />The recomfiguration of the global economy post-1991 led to anxieties among the Palestinian eletes regarding where they would fit in the new world ecomonic order.<br />Internet dependency<br />
  12. 12. Americanization processes have led to a deepening dependency on the Western core. <br />Developing countries uncritically adopt the claims that the Internet enables to jump-srart a nation’s economic capacity. It is based on purely financial perspective.<br />But real is different. Rather, IT development cannot offer economic benefit to the societies of developing countires. This is because Profits are repatriated offshore.<br />
  13. 13. Like the case of IT4Youth, American high-tech firm, developing countires became more dependent on others to provide essential infrastructure services and sustain ins hiche market than before.<br />E.g.) Since its grand opening in mid-2003, IT4Youth has had to hire experts from the US, overpay for its Intel-and HP-approved hardware, and left huge debts.<br />Internet dependency<br />
  14. 14. The irony is that the goal of training locals to obtain Internet and technical skills were not to be used for the center of Palestine. <br />Information society as an icon of modernization becomes a new form of colonization, reinforcing a world of contact and influence between asymmetrical economies.<br />Internet dependency<br />
  15. 15. Conclusion<br />While the Internet can link users globally and enable information to flow across borders, location still matters in shaping both the creation of the infrastructure needed and online activities. <br />It is important to consider that offline activities also determine the development and expansion of the Internet. <br />While Internet development brings liberating, democratizing, and positive possibilities, in this case it also creates a form of unequal exchange between the industrialized West and the Palestinians.<br />
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  18. 18. Thank you for your attention!<br />Se Jung Park<br /><br />Dept of Media & Communication, YeungNam University, Korea<br />WCU Webometrics Institute , YeungNam University, Korea<br /><br />