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Blog Entry Information Infrastructures, State, and Citizens: An Initial Literature Survey
by Khetrimayum Monish Singh, Ranjit Singh, Palashi Vaghela, and Nazifa Ahmed published Mar 28, 2018 last modified Mar 28, 2018 09:02 AM — filed under: , , , , , , ,
Our approach to unpacking the nature of the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) as an information infrastructure is centered on how it mediates the relationship between the Indian state and its citizens. In this sense, an information infrastructure is not end in itself, rather it is a means to an end. In our case, the end is the eventual differentiation between citizens and immigrants in Assam and the updated NRC is the means to practically achieve it. As the updated NRC is put to use, it simultaneously creates a particular conception of what the Indian state looks like and defines a new terrain of making claims to citizenship. By extension, it creates a new form of Indian citizenship enacted by tuples of data stored in the updated NRC. Thus, while paying close attention to the historical narratives of identity politics in Assam (Baruah 1999; Hazarika 1994; Roy 2010), our initial survey of literature speaks to the nature of this mediation. We focus on how scholars in a diversity of fields, ranging from Information Science (IS) and Science and Technology Studies (STS) to Anthropology and Political Science, have engaged with how state infrastructures mediate the state-citizen relationship. We have divided this literature survey into three parts and we will specify the questions that we would like to ask of our field at the end of each part.
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