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Mapping communities : ethics, values, practice

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Publication Date: January 2005

Publisher(s): East-West Center

Author(s): Jefferson Fox; Suryanata Krisnawati; Peter Hershock

Topic: Environment (Land resources and use)
Social conditions (Community life and organization)

Type: Book

Coverage: Southeast Asia

Abstract:

This book and the research project on which it is based emerged out of common and yet distinct concerns among the editors that spatial information technologies (SITs)—at least in certain contexts and at certain scales—can lead to consequences that raise important ethical questions. Three interrelated dimensions in which these consequences have manifested were identified: in conflicts correlated with changing patterns of spatial perceptions and values; in competition related to knowledge and claims of resources; and in relation to structural or organization stresses at the institution level. This book evinces the efforts of its editors to critically broaden reflection on such experiences and their implications for technology transfer and evaluation. The analysis of these phenomena is informed by studies in technology and society that examine the interplay between technological development and the social institutions that shape its further deployment. Furthermore, these issues were examined from a political ecology perspective that situates the proliferation of SITs in the context of economic and political liberalization that has brought an explosion of new property claims and protectionist strategies to forests and other environments, changing the very terms by which resources and environments are defined. The papers in this book do not seek to discredit the use of spatial information technology in community-based management but, rather, seek to understand the social and ethical implications of this technology so that those who choose to use it to meet social objectives can do so wisely and with an understanding of the unintended consequences that may accompany its use. The goal is to enhance the knowledge of the scientific community regarding the ethical, organizational, and power implications of spatial information technology, as well as to provide social activists with criteria for deciding whether they want to use this technology in their fieldwork.