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Media Infrastructures and Digital Practices: Case Studies from the North East of India (Paper Presentation)

Khetrimayum Monish Singh and Rajiv K. Mishra (Doctoral student, Centre for Studies in Science Policy, JNU) are presenting a co-authored paper at the Young Scholars International Conference on “Margins and Connections,” organised by the Special Centre for the Study of North East India, Jawaharlal Nehru University, on February 7-8, 2019. The conference will be held at the Committee Room of School of Social Sciences – I in JNU. Below are the conference schedule and abstract of the paper to be presented.


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Media technologies have fundamentally transformed our social practices and interactions. First is the human-machine interaction through the proliferation of mobile phones and various other devices; and second, through the social reconfiguration as users of social networking sites. However, one crucial aspect of digital transformations in the Global south however has been their inscription in informal infrastructures. Specifically the proliferation of repair and services shops which provide hardware services at an affordable cost, and software goods which are available through grey markets, such as pirated music CDs, movie DVDs, application software, operating systems for computers, etc.

This reflection takes a particular importance in the case of regional areas where accessibility and connectivity is not just a geographical challenge, but rather a way of managing society and economy on everyday basis. The case of the North East region in India has often been one of regulated mainstream and commercial content. Several data driven practices enabled by a neo liberal state and market economy has led to alternative and local forms of producing, cross border exchange and consumption of cultural content. Our attempt here is to investigate these informal spaces of technology to understand the political economy of a ‘peripheral’ region through its media infrastructures.