Wednesday, February 13, 2008

DIAC-08 Abstract (Revised to fit with evolving research interests)

“Liberating Voices” in South Asia: Patterns as a Systems Approach to Analysis and Action

Since its inception in 2001 the Liberating Voices project has been built upon a global effort drawing upon a wealth of experience and research among various scholars, activists technologists and students; the purpose, to help co-construct a pattern language for civic communication. The result has been an ever-evolving repository of several hundred patterns spanning numerous disciplines from environmental sustainability and economic development, to community networks and political advocacy, and of course, the design, deployment and assessment of community centered ICTs.

In 2006 a research project was conducted at St. Mary’s University in conjunction with the Indian Social Institute (New Delhi) to analyze the relevance of these patterns as related to network-centric advocacy. The results of this study revealed three interesting insights regarding patterns and the Liberating Voices project in particular: 1.) Patterns and pattern languages represent a useful model for applying qualitative system dynamics to multi-level problem identification and solution mapping; 2.) While the Liberating Voices project is not yet complete various pattern configurations as sub-sets of the pattern language can be observed among effective instances of networked advocacy, both at the local as well as global levels. Thus, pointing to the relevance of the knowledge contained within the online system; 3.) Despite the promise and openness of the Liberating Voices project and its central software component, there are a number of shortcomings that must be addressed in order to help users engage in both evaluation and pattern configuration for their work in the field.

Pattern Languages, Advocacy Networks, Community Information Systems, Qualitative System Dynamics

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