Infrastructural Inaccessibility

Pernille Bjørn, Nina Boulus-Rødje
  • ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, October 2018, ACM (Association for Computing Machinery)
  • DOI: 10.1145/3219777

Meet the Palestinian tech entrepreneurs!

What is it about?

The Silicon Valley model of Tech entrepreneurship is not universial applicable. By studying Palestinian Tech entrepreneurs working out of Ramallah, West Bank - we demonstrate how denied access to digital global platforms, payment gateways, and legal frameworks produce invisible digital barriers. Tech entrepreneurs in the US have fundamental infrastructures which allow them to be successful. However these are not accessible for all - and we need different models for different contexts.

Why is it important?

The Silicon Valley model is celebrated and used as a template for tech entrepreneurship all around the world. Its assume as a golden standard. However it fails when being implemented in geographical context where certain infrastructures are not present - such as in occupied Palestine. We need to provide visibility for the Palestinian Tech entrepreneurs if we are to allow them the opportunity to succeed. Tech innovation is seen one of the only ways to build the Palestinian economy under the current political circumstances. Global tech companies have an opportunity help this process. It is not a big technical issue, but simply to find designs that allow Palestinian tech entrepreneurs' visibility and access to the global digital platforms such as Google Maps and the iOS AppStore. If successful, the global tech platforms would be levelling the field and provide fundamental infrastructures for all, which we, in the global North, take for granted.

Perspectives

Pernille Bjorn
University of Copenhagen

The dedication and resilience of Palestinian tech entreprenuers continues to amaze me throughout the four years we have been visiting and interacting with the tech community in Ramallah. I hope that we, by giving voice to the Palestinian Tech entrepreneurs, are able to nuance the global image tech entrepreneurship as well as the people living in occupied territories. In the media we hear about the Palestinian activist or terrorist - we hope the public media will also tell the story about the Palestinian tech entrepreneurs.

nina boulus-rødje
roskilde university

This article summaries research carried out in the last 4 years, where we have been honoured to visit and talk to Palestinian tech entrepreneurs and follow them as they develop and evolve throughout the years. It is our great pleasure to share these stories and tales from Palestine, a place which is rarely included in the scene of global tech-entrepreneurship.

Read Publication

http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/3219777

The following have contributed to this page: Pernille Bjorn and nina boulus-rødje