Janaki Srinivasan

Janaki Srinivasan is Associate Professor at the International Institute of Information Technology, in Bangalore, India.

  • The Political Lives of Information

    Information and the Production of Development in India

    Janaki Srinivasan

    How the definition, production, and leveraging of information are shaped by caste, class, and gender, and the implications for development.

    Information, says Janaki Srinivasan, has fundamentally reshaped development discourse and practice. In this study, she examines the history of the idea of “information” and its political implications for poverty alleviation. She presents three cases in 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—to explore three uses of information to support goals of social change. Countering claims that information is naturally and universally empowering, Srinivasan shows how the definition, production, and leveraging of information are shaped by caste, class, and gender.

    Srinivasan draws on archival and ethnographic research to challenge the idea of information as objective and factual. Using the concept of an “information order,” she examines how the meaning and value of information reflect the social relations in which it is embedded. She asks why casting information as a tool of development and solution to poverty appeals to actors across the political spectrum. She also shows how the power to label some things information and others not is at least as significant as the capacity to subsequently produce, access, and leverage information. The more faith we place in what information can do, she cautions, the less attention we pay to its political lives and to the role of specific social structures, individual agency, and material form in the defining, production, and use of that information.

    • Paperback $40.00

Contributor

  • Critical Perspectives on Open Development

    Critical Perspectives on Open Development

    Empirical Interrogation of Theory Construction

    Arul Chib, Caitlin M. Bentley, and Matthew L. Smith

    Cross-cutting theoretical frameworks and analyses examine how open innovations in international development can empower poor and marginalized populations.

    Over the last ten years, “open” innovations—the sharing of information and communications resources without access restrictions or cost—have emerged within international development. But do these innovations empower poor and marginalized populations? This book examines whether, for whom, and under what circumstances the free, networked, public sharing of information and communication resources contribute (or not) toward a process of positive social transformation. The contributors offer cross-cutting theoretical frameworks and empirical analyses that cover a broad range of applications, emphasizing the underlying aspects of open innovations that are shared across contexts and domains.

    The book first outlines theoretical frameworks that span knowledge stewardship, trust, situated learning, identity, participation, and power decentralization. It then investigates these frameworks across a range of institutional and country contexts, considering each in terms of the key emancipatory principles and structural impediments it seeks to address. Taken together, the chapters offer an empirically tested theoretical direction for the field.

    Contributors

    Juan Pablo Alperin, Caitlin M. Bentley, Bidisha Chaudhuri, Nandini Chami, Arul Chib, Purnabha Dasgupta, Andy Dearden, Melissa Densmore, Helani Galpaya, Piyumi Gamage, Anita Gurumurthy, Onkar Hoysala, Linus Kendall, Rich Ling, Goodiel Moshi, Chiranthi Rajapakse, Katherine Reilly, Paul Mungai, Priya Parekh, Chiranthi Rajapakse, Anuradha Rao, Katherine Reilly, David Sadoway, Deo Shao, Parminder Jeet Singh, Matthew L. Smith, Janaki Srinivasan, Bernd Carsten Stahl, Satyarupa Shekhar Swain, John Traxler, Jean-Paul Van Belle, Marion Walton, Yingqin Zheng

    • Paperback $55.00