NEGOTIATING THE FUTURE: INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGIES IN INDIGENOUS CAUCA
This thesis examines the meanings and social uses surrounding information and communications technologies (ICTs) in indigenous spheres in Cauca, Colombia. Technology takes on meanings and social uses depending on historical, cultural, political and economic situations (Larkin 2008). For the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC), and indigenous media makers, ICTs represent tools to be indigenized in an active way instead of globalized products to be passively consumed. My research questions included: how does involvement in communications programs strengthen indigenous identity? How is CRIC envisioning ICTs and the communications program in their organizational strategy? How do media makers indigenize (or appropriate) ICTs and imbue them with a different framework from Western or commercial use? In Chapter I, I look at how the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC) uses ICTs and media as a part of their organizational strategy to train and educate members of the indigenous movement. The second chapter focuses on practical examples of how radio and ICTs expand from their recording cabins to become indigenized through daily practices outside of the studio. The chapter presents an ethnographic case study featuring an educational radio experiment and interviews from students. I draw from and build on work by visual anthropologists such as Terence Turner, Eric Michaels, Harald Prins and Faye Ginsburg. I expand their arguments to look at how ICTs become indigenized by CRIC as tools to strengthen indigenous identity through the reproduction of traditional modes of culture. This reproduction allows indigenous people to re-imagine and authenticate their identities in response to their current environment, and ultimately, to imagine an indigenous future within Colombia.
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