ICTs & Social Cohesion:
Recent GMaC PhD Candidate Contribution

Recently the book “Violence and Social Cohesion in Latin America” has been released by CIEPLAN (Corporation for Latin American Studies). The book gathers contributions from Colombia, Chile, El Salvador and Mexico.

Among them is the paper “Development with Social Cohesion”, a contribution by Amaranta Alfaro, GMaC PhD Candidate, in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Dante Contreras (Chair of the Department of Economics and former Executive Director in the World Bank) and Paulina Sepúlveda.

This article emphasizes the need to promote public policies that achieve greater social integration. This by promoting interaction in public spaces between individuals of different socioeconomic realities for greater social cohesion. One of the angles of public policies suggested by this article focuses on the new information and communication technologies (ICTs).

According to the authors, these generate new forms of citizen inclusion and integration that is worth considering when analyzing the new dynamics of social cohesion. The introduction of these new technologies has shifted social movements from pyramidal structures and policies, to citizen groups with decentralized, non-hierarchical, horizontal structures and without political origins, that share common topics of interest. According to the authors, the new technologies play the role of connecting people with globalization, making them participants in the culture and the world around them. In addition, platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have successfully linked millions of people with common interests. Thanks to new communication platforms, groups of people ignored in the past have increased their presence on the public agenda and in traditional media, achieving visibility and empowerment formerly almost impossible.

In this sense, ICTs offer participants an ideal setting for experimenting with membership and citizen empowerment, helping to deepen democracy and social cohesion. The article concludes that the breakdown of the geographic and temporal barriers, the direct interaction of the participants, the expression without hierarchies, the ability to find peers with common goals and interests, plus the ability to remove information asymmetries between users, makes ICTs a relevant mechanism in the generation of higher levels of participation, representing an unprecedented opportunity to increase cohesion and social belonging.

(1). Book: Editors: Francisco Javier Díaz, Patricio Meller Year: 2012 Publisher: Uqbar Editores ISBN: 978-956-204-036-5 Nr. of pages: 284 To read or download the full paper please follow this link: http://uni-hamburg.academia.edu/AmarantaAlfaro/Papers/1859951/DESARROLLO_CON_COHESION_SOCIAL_EN_AMERICA_LATINA (1): Extract of the book’s introduction, written by the editors Francisco Javier Diaz & Patricio Meller (pp. 11-26)

– Amaranta Alfaro Muirhead –

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