Academic Stuff

Upcoming and Recent

Collecting as a Hobby - Upcoming Session at 4S Sydney 2018

Collection as an activity includes the technology-mediated tasks of finding, acquiring, storing and sharing of objects or artifacts.
While the technologies used to aid in these activities is reflective of a particular STS context, the artifacts being collected
("collectibles") may cut across these spatial and temporal boundaries.

Day 1 - 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM ICC: E5.9 - Collection and Identity

Collection and Identity - IRC 2018

From a sociological standpoint, collection as a hobby has been connected to questions of class, culture, gender and technology.
Hobbies such as philately and numismatics, have received a fillip with the advent of the internet even as the use of coins and stamps reduces; largely due to the same technology.

Can the effects of technology in this case be classified in terms of broad categories such “beneficial” or "detrimental", if at all these boundaries can be defined? How are these shifts seen by collectors? What are the shared interests, passions and hierarchies between them? What are the competitions and conflicts? How do the activities of seeking, acquiring, storing, sharing, buying, selling or exchange which form an essential part of collecting, different in the offline and the online worlds?

Collection and Identity

Democracy and eGovernance


ICEGOV2017 - Smart Technologies, Smart Governance and Smart Cities

The paper engages with the notion of "smartness" in technologies, cities and goverance.
It argues that using technologies with certain specific characteristics - wireless connectivity, speed etc - in itself may not be enough to build effective or
“smart”. Understanding the social context and issues and including them in the design of the system may also be a "smart" way to build effective systems of governance.
At a conceptual level, the model builds on "Activity Theory", or the idea of gaining social understanding by
studying the “activities” of the people involved. Technically, the paper suggests the incorporation of social aspects into the “information model”, or the entities, relationships, rules and
information flows that constitute the system

ACM DL Author-ize serviceSmart Technologies, Smart Governance and Smart Cities: Garbage Governance in Jamia Nagar, Delhi
Ravi Shukla
ICEGOV '17 Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance, 2017

Click here to view

ICEGOV2017 - Models of Smart Governance : Community Involvement in Local Governance

The use of the internet and mobile phones in building effective, democratic, eGovernance systems has not lived up to its early promise.
Drawing on an experimental project involving the use of mobile (sms) technology in garbage collection in a small, marginalized
community, the paper suggests that the design and implementation of effective systems of governance and needs to go hand in hand with
understanding the social problems and issues being addressed.

ACM DL Author-ize serviceModels of Smart Governance: Community Involvement in Local Governance
Ravi Shukla
ICEGOV '17 Proceedings of the Special Collection on eGovernment Innovations in India, 2017

Click here to view

Reimagining Citizenship


The problem with technology is often that by the time it comes into public debate, it has already been developed.
So any social perspective is at best a postfacto analysis.

Here is one of the earlier articles debating the intent and use of Aadhaar.

Reimagining Citizenship (EPW 2010)

Uncommon Identities


An article that article looks at the controls over knowledge systems and institutions.
Drawing from the experience of interactions between people, technologies and institutions in the formation of ‘supersystems’—best described as ‘sociotechnical’.
Playing with the idea of using centralised state generated databases as digital commons, Shukla elaborates on his idea of harnessing
databases such as the Universal Identification (UID) scheme into democratic digital commons, allowing us to revisit notions of identity and processes of empowerment.
(Page 27)

Uncommon Identities

Paper Submission: Cognition, Information and Activity


Abstract:
The mutually reinforcing relationship between information systems and cognitive processes are reflected in metaphors such as the notion of the mind as an information processing machine and efforts such as machine learning and neural networks.
The predominant understanding of cognition - that functions such as memory, learning and reasoning involve the storage and manipulation of images and symbols also pervades software modelling and design - itself a cognitive activity.
However, a somewhat different understanding of Cognition - as a dynamic and adaptive activity of responding to one's physical and social environment also points to newer approaches in modelling.
This paper suggests possible extensions to the Unified Modelling Language (UML) that take on board domain specific and social aspects and activities and include them in design models.

New Paper Submission Cognition, Information and Activity.

Technologies in aaddhaar : A Sociotechnical Vew

The author, himself a software programmer now working on how technologies can be better comprehended as sociotechnical
processes, inquires into the scaling-up process that a project as large as Aadhaar needed to have done.
He also looks at the various RTI applications to question whether or not standard checks and balances have been followed on the technology deployed.

Click Technologies in aadhaar to read the article.

Emergence of NI in Social Context – Phd Synopsis


A PhD on the above topic was submitted recently submitted at the Centre for Studies in Science Policy (JNU), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi
Abstract:
The thesis argues that the emerging field of Neuroinformatics or the 'science of information relating to brain or behavioral data', is best approached as a technoscience.
"Technoscience" here implies not only the inherently technical nature of the scientific quest but also the notion that when it comes to understanding behaviour, there may not
be a set of universalized, scientific "laws". The search instead seems to assume a set of mechanisms underlying behavior that may point to broad, probabilistic 'patterns' of behaviour.

Click Emergence of NI in Social Context: PhD Abstract to read the complete story.

Technology and Democracy – M. Phil Dissertation

The writing explores the relationship between society and technology between the two vantage points of technological determinism and social construction. It suggests that while each large technological system is sociotechnical in nature, the reciprocal relationship between a society and the fuel it uses is more pronounced.

The dissertation takes the case of civilian use of Nuclear Technology as fuel in ‘democratic’ India as a site to examine the relationship between technology and society. It seeks to suggest that some patterns of technology development may be more (or less) amenable to certain cultures and social structures.

Click here to see the document.