Scope and Purpose:
Sustainable Development or Sustainable Social Change has emerged as one of the most prominent development paradigms. In 1987, the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) concluded that “sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Sustainable development is seen as a means of enhancing decision-making so that it provides a more comprehensive assessment of the many multi-dimensional problems society faces. What is required is an evaluation framework for categorizing programs, projects, policies, and/or decisions as having sustainability potential.
Four dimensions are generally recognized as the “pillars” of sustainable development: economic, environmental, social, and cultural. Over the years, different perspectives — based on both ‘Western’ and ‘Eastern’ philosophical starting points — have resulted in a more holistic and integrated vision of Sustainable Development.
Human and environmental sustainability has become a central theme in development and social change activities. Sustainable interventions are necessary to ensure a world worth living in for future generations. Besides political-economic approaches, we need socio-cultural approaches to guarantee acceptable and integrated levels of sustainability and to build resilience.
Moreover, it is essential to recognize that development problems are complex. Complex or so-called wicked problems, such as the existence of climate change, conflict and war, health diseases, or migration, are problems that do not have one single solution that is right or wrong, good or bad, or true or false. These are problems in which many stakeholders are involved, all of them framing the problems and issues in a different way. Therefore, solutions need to be negotiated, for instance, in multi-stakeholder platforms.
At the same time, a unifying theme is that there is no universal development model. Development is an integral, multidimensional, and dialectic process that differs from society to society, community to community, context to context. In other words, each society and community must attempt to delineate its own strategy to sustainable development starting with the resources and “capitals” available (not only physical, financial and environmental but also human, social, institutional etc.), and considering needs and views of the people concerned.
Sustainable Social Change implies a participatory, multi-stakeholder approach to policy making and implementation, mobilizing public and private resources for development, and making use of the knowledge, skills and energy of all social groups concerned with the future of the planet and its people. Within this framework, communication and information play a strategic and fundamental role by; (a) contributing to the interplay of different development factors, (b) improving the sharing of knowledge and information, and (c) encouraging the participation of all concerned.
In this context, ICTs have often been praised for their intrinsic capacities to promote social integration and social change. This sometimes euphoric rhetoric contrasts with the results that we can find in the research literature on the digital divide. To bridge the gap between the possibilities of ICTs and the reality of the digital divide a profound ICT policy is needed.
Social integration refers to the equal participation of all social and cultural groups in society. In as far as this participation implies the possession and the use of digital equipment, this participation can be called digital participation. These digital participation processes can and should be enhanced by ICT policies.
Shifts and emerging tendencies in conceptions of technology, agency, and change might require a shift in critical thinking and urge us to reconsider or repurpose the critique of technological determinism. We draw attention to the ways in which skill, capabilities, and heterogeneous cultural resources are simultaneously stimulated, channeled, exploited, and repressed. We further need to integrate such a political account of skill with the concepts of voice and political efficacy, the need for a digital (visual) literacy, and need for new more participatory measurements and methods to assess their (short and/or longer term) impact.
We herewith invite contributions (both theoretical as well as applied case studies) that show how ICT policies can promote participation and contribute to sustainable social change. Whether a more theoretical essay or review type of submission, or a hard core empirical paper, each contribution should properly address the issue of ‘sustainability’ and its impact on social change in general or the subject being researched.
Timeline for the special issue:
Papers can be submitted and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. The final deadline for papers is 1 February 2018
Reviews returned before 30 June 2018
Final papers due by 31 August 2018
Special issue published in 2019
Guidelines for submission:
Authors are invited to prepare original manuscripts of 5000 to 6000 words (excluding references), adopting the guidelines defined in the website of ‘Telematics and Informatics’ https://www.journals.elsevier.com/telematics-and-informatics
Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. All submitted papers will be refereed through a blind peer review process.
All papers should be submitted via the Journal\’s online submission and peer-review system (https://www.evise.com/profile/#/TELE/login) to the “Special Issue: ICTSSC”.
Please follow the guidelines for authors (https://www.elsevier.com/journals/telematics-and-informatics/0736-5853/guide-for-authors).
For more information, contact:
Jan Servaes, Ph.D
Patchanee Malikhao, Ph.D