The Political Lives of Information: Information and the Production of Development in India

12-1 p.m.

Presented by Janaki Srinivasan, Associate Professor, International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore, India.

Information has fundamentally reshaped development discourse and practice. This talk will examine the political implications of the idea of information for poverty alleviation. Drawing on ethnographic and archival research on three cases from India—the circulation of price information in a fish market in Kerala, government information in information kiosks operated by a nonprofit in Puducherry, and a political campaign demanding a right to information in Rajasthan—the talk will counter claims that information is naturally and universally empowering. It will demonstrate, instead, how the definition, production, and leveraging of information have always been shaped by caste, class, and gender.

About the Presenter
Janaki Srinivasan is associate professor at the International Institute of Information Technology Bangalore and the convener of the Institute’s Centre for Information Technology and Public Policy. Her research examines the politics of information technology-based development. Currently, she is exploring privacy, algorithmic control, and fairness in platform work. Janaki earned her Ph.D. from the UC Berkeley School of Information.

This talk is co-sponsored by the Institute of Communications Research and the School of Information Sciences.