Research Programmes

by Nishant Shah last modified Jan 15, 2009 12:02 PM
The Research Portfolio at the Centre for Internet and Society seeks to develop new pedagogic practices, plural and unique knowledges, multidisciplinary perspectives, and reflexive interventions in the field of Internet and Society.

Context

We work on the premise that very little work has gone into understanding or exploring the internets in their plurality, leading to simultaneous mythification and demonisation of the internet. However, instead of trying to define what the internet means or enumerating its many manifestations, the Centre for Internet and Society is invested in producing new pedagogical devices and frameworks to analyse the various layers of the internet as it interacts with socio-cultural and geo-political contexts.

 

Most frameworks that address questions of Internet and Society work with borrowed terminologies (of older technologies and technological forms) and institutional perspectives (arising out of traditional disciplines and interventions of earlier paradigms) that are no longer adequate for serious engagement with the complex relationship between internet and society. We recognise three dominant strains that are influential in most of the research and intervention in the field of Internet and Society.

The first is a focus on the science and technologies of the internet -- looking at innovation, experimentation and development of the technologies to build a faster, more effective and more robust web of applications and protocols. The second is a sustained philosophical engagement that explores the aesthetic and ethical implications of the digital worlds, networks, communities and identities that cyberspaces evolve. The third is an instrumental approach to technology that focuses on the effects of the internet and its growth as well as the potential it has for further development and impact.

 

These approaches create a schism between internet technologies and social structures, obscuring the inextricable nature of their intertwining. The focus is either on the purely technological, where the social fades into the background, or on the severely socio-cultural, where internet technologies are  looked upon merely as instrumental in nature. The Centre for Internet and Society, instead of making this either-or choice, seeks to invest its energies in emphasising and excavating the processes, transactions, negotiations and mechanics by which internet technologies engage with society.

 

CIS Research Programmes

The Research Portfolio currently houses three different research programmes, each aimed at different audiences and researchers:

  1. The CIS-RAW: The Centre for Internet and Society’s Researchers At Work programme encourages innovative ideas and perspectives that emerge from dialogue and exchange, structured around a theme that changes every two years. The CIS-RAW is targeted at established scholars willing to engage with the specific themes that CIS is immediately interested in. It offers full financial support towards quantified academic productions. To know more about the CIS-RAW programme, please click here.
  2. The ICT4A Fellowships: The Centre for Internet and Society recognises that some of the most innovative ideas and experiments with philosophical concepts and practice based projects are in the intersections between Information and Communication Technologies and the Creative Arts. Artists experimenting with form, shape, installations, processes and pedagogy create significant projects with high intervention and public value while forcing us to revisit the relationship between the internet and society. The ICT4A (Internet and Creative Technologies of Art) Fellowships are for artists who are interested in examining the aesthetics, politics and pragmatics of internet technologies and their relationships with different socio-cultural and geo-political phenomena. To know more about the ICT4A Fellowships, please click here.
  3. Collaborative Projects Programme: CIS sees its role as that of an enabler and think tank for new ideas, methods and frameworks within the field of Internet and Society. Given the scope of internet technologies and the persuasive way in which they embrace various facets of contemporary life, we envision various disciplines engaging with the concerns of Internet and Society in the future. The Collaborative Project Programme is structured to provide initial head-space, ideation resources, and intellectual infrastructure to senior researchers and/or practitioners to work towards a larger project that intersects with our vision. The Collaborative Projects Programme offers CIS an opportunity to enter into a financial, intellectual and administrative collaboration for up to six months with individuals or organisations who are looking at funding for the inception work towards a project (research, intervention, or otherwise) in the field of Internet and Society. To learn more about the modalities, CIS’ involvement and the nature of support for the Collaborative Projects, please click here.

 

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