The Use of ICTs in Conflict and Peacebuilding: A Feminist Analysis


Brown, Clare. 2018. “The Use of ICTs in Conflict and Peacebuilding: A Feminist Analysis.” Australian Feminist Law Journal 44 (1): 137–53.

Author: Clare Brown


The past five years have seen a rapid increase in international attention on and donor funding for the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) – including Internet platforms, social media, and mobile phone apps – in responding to conflict. With the notable exception of the role of women on social media during the Arab Spring, very little has been written about the use of and focus on these technologies from a feminist perspective. This article will argue that both the objectives of and strategies employed by conflict-related ICTs must be subjected to feminist analysis so as to mitigate the risk that the rush to support, develop, and implement projects in this field are not ultimately damaging to women. It will discuss three of the main purposes of the use of ICTs in conflict: to shape and send messages; to track, store, and distribute information; and to collect evidence. It will also consider three of their primary objectives: to prevent conflict; to assist civilians and decision makers in responding to conflict; and to increase justice and accountability. It will argue that gendered assumptions underlie both the execution of these methods and the way in which these objectives have been understood. Finally, it will make some general recommendations as to how some of these challenges may be better responded to by academics, actors, and donors in the humanitarian field.

Topics: Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Infrastructure, Information & Communication Technologies, Humanitarian Assistance, Justice, Peacebuilding

Year: 2018

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