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Beautiful balloon: The digital divide and the charisma of new media in India



Against the view that the millennium brought only unrealistic hype around the socially transformative potentials of the Internet, I argue for skepticism vis-à-vis the “realistic” stance that is now employed to evaluate the success of development-oriented applications of the Internet in India. Focusing on the heyday of ICT4D (information and communication technologies for development) projects, I move beyond the stalemate of hype versus debunking to suggest, instead, that although the discourse of development helped to legitimize the Internet as an “appropriate technology,” its emphasis on functional solutions also helped to obscure the Internet's more ambiguous emergent potentials.