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Blog Entry Life of a Tuple: National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Reform of Citizen Identification Infrastructure in Assam
by Sumandro Chattapadhyay published Jan 22, 2018 last modified Jan 22, 2018 11:02 AM — filed under: , , , , , ,
We are proud to announce that a research grant from the Azim Premji University has enabled us to initiate a study of the ongoing updation process of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam and the resultant reform of citizen identification infrastructure in India. The study is being led by Khetrimayum Monish Singh and Ranjit Singh, along with Sumandro Chattapadhyay. Here we present an initial brief about the study.
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Blog Entry Infrastructure as Digital Politics: Media Practices and the Assam NRC Citizen Identification Project (Draft Paper)
by Khetrimayum Monish Singh published May 15, 2018 last modified May 15, 2018 03:35 PM — filed under: , , , , , , ,
The National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise in Assam focuses on updating the list of Indian citizens in the state. A highly sensitive, controversial and massive exercise, the government has had several strategies to manage this project. One of the ways has been in which the government has engaged with and positioned itself, vis-a-vis the media, specifically through Facebook and Twitter, and on its own official website. This paper by Khetrimayum Monish Singh and Nazifa Ahmed is a discourse analysis of media content and user opinions on Facebook, and media responses on the NRC official website. These reflect bureaucratic practices of efficiency, transparency, trust and anxiety management; user feedback, confusion, political concerns and opinions help in accounting for and navigating through the system, and contribute to building up the NRC as an information infrastructure. We focus on how these two processes through media practices co-produce 'the sociotechnical building and maintenance' (Star and Bowker, 1999; Star and Ruhleder, 1996) of the NRC as an information infrastructure.
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Blog Entry Information Infrastructures, State, and Citizens: An Initial Literature Survey
by Khetrimayum Monish Singh published Mar 28, 2018 last modified May 15, 2018 03:22 PM — 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. This survey was undertaken by Khetrimayum Monish Singh, Ranjit Singh, Palashi Vaghela, and Nazifa Ahmed.
Located in RAW