IRC17, Bengaluru, March 03-05, 2017


14. #ObjectsOfDigitalGovernance

Last updated on Mar 04, 2017.


Notes from the Session


Description of the Session

Digital objects are becoming interesting sites of analysis with the growing importance of data centred models of governance, and social network interactions. The general idea of this session would be on thinking about digital objects as socio-technical artifacts with politics, and to try and deconstruct their materiality. In this, the attempt would be to reconcile sites and trends that are linked through infrastructures, data and objects which shape techno-political practices. Our arguments are based on ongoing case studies related to database politics of UID/​Aadhaar (Delhi, Jharkhand) and the National Register of Citizens update (Assam); and the consumer-user-citizen at the centre of the ‘social network’. For this, we discuss relevant STS approaches and methodologies followed by open discussions.

Through STS perspectives of Large Technological Systems (LTS), infrastructures analysis and digital governance, the first two case studies on database politics hope to explore the various ‘sociotechnical imaginaries’ of state directed interventions in identification and development practices. The third presentation will explore the dimensions of a new project, still in it’s infancy, that attempts to study the user-consumer-citizen at the centre of the ‘social-network’ of the nation, and the internet. The session therefore hopes to address the first key provocation of IRC17: how the becoming-digital of research objects challenges our current research practices, concerns and assumptions.

Session Plan

Each co-lead will discuss case studies. The session will then discuss linkages to relevant STS approaches and contemporary methodologies of analyzing digital objects, followed by open discussions.

Documentation Plan

A post-conference brief essay/summary of methods/field notes of each presentation and session notes focusing on methods of studying the various digital objects of enquiry.

Paper Abstracts

Not applicable.

Details of the Team

Khetrimayum Monish Singh is an independent researcher currently associated with The Centre for Internet & Society, New Delhi. He works on digital infrastructures and the impact of data-driven legislations, practices and analytics on individuals, communities, and groups, especially immigrants and marginalized populations, with regard to access, security, and welfare benefits schemes; and questions of identity and differential treatment of citizens/residents immanent in database infrastructures.

Rajiv K. Mishra ​is a PhD Candidate at CSSP, JNU working on large technological systems and development, with the case of unique identity (UID/​Aadhaar) and health informatics in India.

Vidya Subramanian ​has submitted her PhD at the Centre for Studies in Science Policy (CSSP, JNU); and currently writes about and from within the many layers of interactions between technology ​and society for the ​Hindustan Times in New Delhi.