What: Neha Kumar: The Link Between ICT’s and Media Consumption
When: Tuesday, April 8th at 12pm
Where: The Allen Center, CSE 203
Join us tomorrow for Change. UW CSE postdoctoral researcher Neha Kumar will join us for a discussion on her work examining the relationship between ICT and media consumption in rural, small-town, and urban India.
Research initiatives in the fields of Information and Communication Technology and Development (ICTD) have largely overlooked leisure-driven uses of new media technologies in their efforts to address agricultural, educational, financial and other instrumental needs.
My research finds that affordable new media technologies have been significant in driving the procurement of entertainment content and the production of culture. Individuals from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds quickly become adept at using these technologies, paving the way for development-friendly outcomes. This is the phenomenon I analyze, as I examine individual agency in the intertwining of culture and new media in the context of dominant development narratives.
This talk will draw upon research that investigates the leisure-driven appropriation of the mobile phone by youth from marginal backgrounds in rural, small-town, and urban India. I study the influx of new media and its resulting impact in folk music-rich communities of rural Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Shifting focus to the motivations that drive youth towards mobile consumption of folk and popular media, I examine the unique material affordances of mobile technology and its influence on emerging media practices. Highlighting the notion of agency, both human and material, I investigate the pirate media network responsible for the widespread dissemination of digital media and technical skills. I then discuss the agency of urban Indian youth that guides them to further build on these skills as they negotiate various linguistic, social, and technological hurdles in their thirst to engage with social media.
About the speaker:
Neha is a postdoctoral researcher at UW CSE, where her research focuses on the design, production, and dissemination of visual media to address maternal and infant mortality in rural India. She recently completed her Ph.D. from the School of Information at UC Berkeley, where she conducted an ethnography of the adoption and self-guided uses of new media technologies of Indian youth from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. Her research objective is to contribute a deeper, more grounded understanding of emerging uses and users to the field of ICTD and its interventions. She is most at home in cross-disciplinary contexts, having worn the hats of computer scientist, education researcher, designer, data analyst, and ethnographer at various stages of her graduate work.