Some of my work includes:
9. Gender Professionalization and Digital Platforms: The Case of Beauticians in India (Co-PI with Balaji Parthasarathy)
Funding Agency: Mobile World Capital Foundation, Barcelona
8. Online and offline livelihoods – An analysis of the impact of the gig economy on worker participation (co-PI with V. Sridhar and Balaji Parthasarathy)
Funding agency: Azim Premji University Research Funding Programme (November 2019 – present)
7. Online Content Moderation Labor (co-PI)
Funding agency: International Labour Organization, Geneva (October 2018 – present)
6. Google Station WiFi user evaluation (PI)
Funding agency: Google (July 2017 – February 2018)
5. Rural India on the National Optic Fibre Network: What Happens Next? (PI)
Funding agency: The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy (May – December 2016)
4. Social media interactions
Bridging gender segregation through WhatsApp (2014): A project to study the teaching and learning of engineering subjects in a Bangalore city college, led to the serendipitous discovery of how mobile instant messaging applications were allowing girls and boys to breach the barriers of gender segregated classrooms and communicate with another. I thoroughly enjoyed working on this project and the kind of field work I did during my stint with Xerox Research Centre India. The importance of WhatsApp in facilitating inter-gender communication emerged when I moved into the girls hostel of a college for a brief period as part of a field immersion activity. It was immense fun.
3. Technology use and evaluation/ICT4D (ICTs for Development)
CGNet Swara: An IVR-supported citizen journalism initiative in Chhattisgarh (2011): I worked on this project as part of a research internship along with Bill Thies and Jonathan Donner at Microsoft Research’s Technologies for Emerging Markets group in Bangalore. The fieldwork took me to the state of Chhattisgarh and gave me the opportunity to study how the threads of mainstream marginalization, social activism, and mobile phone combined with the reach of the Internet could together form a braid to help disempowered people articulate and make visible their concerns.
Public Computing Centers in Texas (2013): As part of a research group at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, I had an opportunity to study the tentative links that disenfranchised people in the state of Texas were building with the world of computers and the Internet to allow themselves more opportunities to lead fulfilling lives. As part of this project, I traveled to several centers in Texas to observe and interview a diverse set of users ranging from rural Texans, residents of homeless shelters, and ex-offenders.
2. Participation in local self-government institutions
Maharashtra (2011): For my doctoral dissertation, I undertook an internship with the Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (YASHADA) which is an administrative and training centre for the Government of Maharashtra. This collaboration allowed me to travel the length and breadth of rural Maharashtra. I was hosted by various families in the villages I visited and combined this immersion with intensive interviews and observations. My aim was to understand the various meanings that people attached to the notion of participation and how they saw themselves participating in the daily life of their village. I used the theoretical framework of ‘communities of practice’ for my work.
Norway (2012): Though my dissertation was focused on Maharashtra, I also had the opportunity to travel to Norway to study their model of decentralized governance. As a visiting researcher at the University of Nordland, Bodo, I lived in Norway for two months and had the opportunity to travel to many different regions within the country speaking to elected representatives and their constituents. Norway has a memorandum of understanding with India to partner and collaborate in decentralizing governance and this experience allowed me a comparative glimpse at another country’s participatory governance systems.
1. Discourse studies
Media Discourse on Aakash, the World’s Cheapest Tablet (2013): (along with Joyojeet Pal, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) In this project, we examined close to 212 news reports to understand the narrative of how a state-sponsored technology artefact was being represented in popular Indian and international English media.
The Foreign in Tamil Cinema (2012): This project was something my co-author Joyojeet Pal at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and I did as a fun piece. We examined around 90 films to analyze and write a discourse on how Tamil cinema was framing notions of the ‘foreign’ in its films.