Researchers at Work (RAW)
The Researchers at Work, or RAW, programme at the Centre for Internet and Society is a multidisciplinary research initiative driven by contemporary concerns to understand the reconfiguration of social processes and structures through the internet and digital media technologies, and vice versa. We are interested in producing local and contextual accounts of interactions, negotiations, and resolutions between the internet and socio-material and geo-political structures. We take India as our physical field of research, as our unevenly excavated site of artifacts and practices, and also as our vantage point to reflect on the polymorphous growth of internet technologies and their relationships with societies across the world. Our work is divided into three areas of engagement: research, learning, and practice.
Research at the RAW programme is structured through five clusters of interest: 1) data systems, 2) digital knowledge, 3) internet histories, 4) network economies, and 5) web cultures.
In this cluster we explore the various manifestations and implications of digital data in the context of the Indian society and government – supply, demand, and usages of government data; electronic government and data-driven delivery of services; internet of things, locative media, and smart cities; infrastructures, systems, and circuits of data collection, storage, sharing, and re-usage; and concerns of ownership and privacy around personal data.
Read posts from the data systems cluster.
In this cluster we study the digital conditions of production, circulation, consumption, appropriation, storage, and re-usage of various forms of knowledge in India. It brings together our interests in digital literacy, education and pedagogy; technological infrastructures and devices of digital learning; open access, open educational resources, open data, and open knowledge practices in general and their ecosystems; internet and the emerging authorities, modes, and platforms of knowledge and education; transformations in mass media and journalistic practices; computational methods in arts, humanities, social science, and natural science research; and software and hardware innovations towards knowledge infrastructures and practices.
Read posts from the digital knowledge cluster.
This cluster addresses the making of internet in India – from questions of communication infrastructures, regulatory practices and formation of expertise, labour and industries of connecting India to the internet, integration of internet and computers into the functioning of the public and private sector agencies in India, coming of internet-based solutions into the human development topics and practices, to early net cultures and netizens in India, roles of internet in media and device cultures in India, spaces and geographies of internet in India; and the making of the Indian cyberspace in terms of contents, users, and real/virtual practices. It is also interested in excavating the longer history(ies) of electronic communication in its various forms in India, and locating its implications and remnants in the contemporary experiences of internet in India.
Read posts from the internet histories cluster.
This cluster responds to the range of transformation and restructuring of the economy emerging with, and emergent with, the proliferation of internet and internet-mediated transactions. The term 'network,' in this case, refers to the following: 1) the connectivity (network) infrastructures that underlie and make possible this economy, 2) the economic power and implications of the 'network effect,' and 3) the assemblage of digital and non-digital components and actors that make possible the functioning of such economies. The issues covered includes but is not limited to 'sharing economy' and peer-to-peer transactions; digital labour, electronic commerce, and platform economies; digital money and mobile-based banking; and automation, robotics, and 'industry 4.0.'
Read posts from the network economies cluster.
This cluster focuses on questions arising from the social, political, and material dimensions of the web-based interactions, communities, and cultures. Our interests range across the topics of digital activism and practices and discourses of social change, forms and norms of online communities, experiences of body and intimacy, structures of violence and affect, and device cultures and materiality of interfaces.
Read posts from the web cultures cluster.
Questions of pedagogy in the digital era on one hand, and those of learning about the digital on the other, are of key interest to the RAW programme. Our works as part of this area of engagement focus on three things: 1) creating communities of research and teaching about topics related to internet and digital media in India, 2) creating free, open, multilingual, and reusable resources for teaching about such topics in India, and 3) reusing and reshaping research works produced by CIS as free learning resources.
The first focus involves organising conferences and other forms of collaborative sharing and thinking, and managing a blog and a mailing list for researchers engaging with internet in India. The Internet Researchers’ Conference series is a part of this work. The second focus comprises of driving compilation and development of resources for teaching topics related to internet and digital media across various educational levels, often in partnership with academic and other partners. We are being supported by a generous grant by the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society (CSCS) to initiate and provide seed funding for creation of digital tools and methods for arts, humanities, and social science research in India. We are currently working on structuring the third focus area.
Read posts on our engagements with learning.
This area of engagement hosts and supports practice-oriented research, archival, and creative works. We are interested in undertaking and promoting applied works engaging with digital technologies in general, including but not limited to archival and oral history projects, artistic and creative exercises exploring aspects of life after the digital, critical software and hardware projects, and multidisciplinary networks on digital practices.
Read posts on our engagements with practice.
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