Blog Post

Hello from Bloomington, Indiana!

Hello everyone. My name is David Nemer, I'm a third year PhD student in Social Informatics at Indiana University. My research critically investigates Brazil’s digital technology programs and illuminates the complex relationship between digital and social inclusion. My research seeks to determine whether such programs actually lead to the social inclusion of the marginalized; if they do, then my research will determine how do these programs achieve this inclusion and in which dimensions (health, education, democracy, financial, etc.)? This past summer I performed an exploratory study in my hometown, Vitoria, Brazil. I spent one month gaining familiarity with the culture of the Gurigica slum complex. I visited and analyzed several digital inclusion units there: three LAN Houses (cybercafes) and three Telecentros (state-owned computer labs). I spent most of my time talking with the Inclusion Agents (mentors) at the Telecentros and the owners of the LAN Houses and observed the users of both. I have to confess that this experience was very adventurous: I got lost several times in the slums’ eerie back alleys, got interrogated by drug lords, saw people dealing drugs and found myself in the middle of a shootout. Although it may sound intimidating, this exploratory study gave me an amazing opportunity to meet fantastic people from a community in my hometown that I had no knowledge of. I got a good notion of how the Telecentros and LAN Houses work and of how they may help the individuals and communities located at the Gurigica slum complex. For example, the users were seeking such units to type their curriculum vitae, look for jobs posted online, access eGoverment services, print flyers for their small businesses. At the Telecentros, the Inclusion Agents promoted workshops according to the community necessities, such as “basic computing” and even a knitting workshop in which the students learned lessons from YouTube videos. This was my first experience, and I can’t wait to go back, spend more time with the people and learn from them.


1 comment

Oi David! Sounds like a great project!  Just writing to say hello. I'm a HASTAC Scholar at Duke and I study Caribbean History and the African Diaspora in the Americas. I was in Brazil this past summer and visited Vitória for a few days. Gostei muito da cidade! I'm looking forward to reading more about your work in Brazil.