Asha Achuthan initiates a historical research inquiry to understand the ways in which gendered bodies are shaped by the Internet imaginaries in contemporary India. Tracing the history from nationalist debates between Gandhi and Tagore to the neo-liberal perspective based knowledge produced by feminists like Martha Nussbaum; Asha’s research offers a unique entry point into cyberculture studies through a feminist epistemology of science and technology.
The monograph establishes that there is a certain pre-history to the Internet that needs to be unpacked in order to understand the digital interventions on the body in a range of fields from social sciences theory to medical health practices to technology and science policy in the country.
Click here to download the Monograph [PDF, 2647 KB]
Dr. Asha Achuthan's research project on "Rewiring Bodies" is a part of the Researchers @ Work Programme at the Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore. From her vantage position, straddling the disciplines of medicine an Cultural Studies, through a gendered perspective. Dr. Achutan historicises the attitudes, imaginations and policies that have shaped the Science-Technology debates in India, to particularly address the ways in which emergence of Internet Technologies have shaped notions of gender and body in India.
The previous post explored, in detail, responses to science and technology in feminist and gender work in India. The idea was, more than anything else, to present an 'attitude' to technology, whether manifested in dams or obstetric technologies, that sees technology as a handmaiden of development, as instrument - good or evil, and as discrete from 'man'. Feminist and gender work in India has thereafter articulated approximately four responses to technology across state and civil society positions - presence, access, inclusion, resistance. The demand for presence of women as agents of technological change, the demand for improved access for women to the fruits of technology, the demand for inclusion of women as a constituency that must be specially provided for by technological amendments, and a need for recognition of technology’s ills particularly for women, and the consequent need for resistance to technology on the same count. Bearing in mind that women’s lived experiences have served as the vantage point for all four of the responses to technology in the Indian context, I will now suggest the need to revisit the idea of such experience itself, and the ways in which it might be made critical, rather than valorizing it as an official counterpoint to scientific knowledge, and by extension to technology. This post, while not addressing the 'technology question' in any direct sense, is an effort to begin that exploration.
Rewiring Bodies: Methodologies of Critique - Responses to technology in feminist and gender work in India
In this post, part of her CIS-RAW 'Rewiring Bodies' project, Asha Achuthan records the arguments within feminism and gender work that critique the use of technology in the Indian context, and attempts to show continuities between these arguments and postcolonial formulations. Overall, the post also records notions of the 'political' that inform the contour of these critiques.
In the last couple of posts, Asha Achuthan has been building towards an understanding of how the anti-technology arguments in India have been posed, in the nationalist and Marxist positions. She goes on, in this sixth post documenting her project, to look at the arguments put out by the postcolonial school, their appropriation of Marxist terminology, their stances against Marxism in responding to science and technology in general, and the implications of these arguments for other fields of inquiry.
In her previous post, Asha Achuthan discussed, through the Gandhi-Tagore debates, the responses to science and technology that did not follow the dominant Marxist-nationalist positions. Later Marxist-postcolonial approaches to science and responses to technology were conflated in anti-technology arguments, particularly in development. In this post, the fifth in a series on her project, she will briefly trace the 1980s shift in Marxist thinking in India as a way of approaching the shift in the science and technology question. This exercise will reveal the ambivalence in Marxist practice toward continuing associations between the ‘rational-scientific’ on the one hand and the ‘revolutionary’ on the other.
This is the third in a series of posts on Asha Achuthan's Rewiring Bodies project. In this post, Asha looks at the Tagore-Gandhi debates on technology to throw some light on the question of whether there was a nationalist alternative to the technology offered by the West.
This is the second post in a series by Asha Achuthan on her project, Rewiring Bodies. In this blog entry, Asha looks at the trajectory of responses to technology in India to understand the genesis of the assumption that the subjects of technology are separate from the tool, machine, or instrument.
CIS and 'the monster album of feminist stories', in relation to the Rewiring Bodies project by Asha Achuthan, hosted the first of a series of talks on cognizing feminism at the CIS premises on Cunningham Road on 14th November, 2008.
This may seem like a careless swipe at the volumes of critique of technology. And yet ... I need to know ...
The clinic is not what it was. It is highly technologized, flooded with information systems. But what of the relationships it traditionally supported, between patient and doctor?
This is a work-in-progress that seeks to inaugurate a field of critical technology studies with the women-technology relationship as a unique entry point of investigation.