Editora GSA, 2013
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Favela Digital displays the efforts of a researcher who shows respect and shares the acquired knowledge with the favela dwellers themselves. The beautiful photographs portray the people in a very sensitive and responsible way. In a context where the urban poor are constantly criminalized or stigmatized, these images can potentially create a sense of empowerment and pride among favela dwellers. The short texts both in English and Portuguese also create an opportunity for favela dwellers to read, evaluate, and use the book as a starting point for their own discussions about their own uses of digital media. I believe that this book would be an important addition to the curriculum of public schools in Brazil (where most urban poor populations study), for example. As the Brazilian critical pedagogy educator Paulo Freire argued, people engage with education more enthusiastically when they study subjects that relate to their everyday life experiences. Thus, Nemer’s book definitely contributes to the promotion of critical thinking among favela dwellers.
Favela Digital may not follow the standardized structure of proper academic work, but why should it? Perhaps if it did, it would be just one more book collecting dust on the shelves of university libraries. However, as it is, the book accomplishes what many of us academics want to do and many others do not even realize we should do: to communicate our theories with wider society, especially with those on the less privileged side of socioeconomic divides, in readable, accessible, and still critical ways. The book is an example of how academic research can also generate a valuable asset in processes of social change. For those of us doing research about favelas or other kinds of slums elsewhere, Favela Digital is certainly an inspiration.”- Leonardo Custódio
David Nemer is an Assistant Professor in the School of Information Science at the University of Kentucky. His research and teaching interests cover the intersection of Science and Technology Studies (STS), postcolonial STS, ICT for Development (ICT4D), and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). Nemer is an ethnographer who is specifically interested in studying technology in less industrialized parts of the world to understand the effects of technology on the development and empowerment of marginalized communities. His current fieldworks include Slums of Vitória, Brazil; Havana, Cuba; and Eastern Kentucky, Appalachia. Nemer is the author of Favela Digital: The other side of technology (Editora GSA, 2013). He holds a Ph.D. in Informatics (Computing, Culture and Society) from Indiana University, USA, and an MSc in Computer Science from Saarland University, Germany.