Beyond E-waste: Kenyan Creativity and Alternative Narratives in the Dialectic of End-of-Life


  • Ugo Vallauri



The main focus of green IT campaigns and policy interventions in developing regions has been on efforts to counter the flows of e-waste coming from the West. This paper argues that while such interventions are necessary, they often fail to acknowledge the complexity of information-technological developments across the global South. Complementary narratives can uncover a more nuanced perception of the role played by second hand ICT equipment in development. E-waste is at first contextualized within the wider debate on the contested role of technology in post-development. Examples of the multi-dimensional role of technolog in development initiatives in Kenya are used to provide evidence of existing cultures of reuse and of their potential to inform and influence a shift in Western ICT consumption patterns, in line with contemporary debates on de-growth. Examples of alternative approaches to development in the context of ICT abound, and it's key to focus on those that have roots in the creation of value right where others would see only waste – translating the ethos of the grey economy in projects that reclaim economical and educational spaces.




How to Cite

Vallauri, Ugo. 2009. “Beyond E-Waste: Kenyan Creativity and Alternative Narratives in the Dialectic of End-of-Life”. The International Review of Information Ethics 11 (October). Edmonton, Canada:20-24.