Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality, and to see the links to virtual rooms.


Technology matters: ethnographies of technological adoption beyond the Western world 
Dagna Rams (London School of Economics)
Samwel Moses Ntapanta (Aarhus University)
Send message to Convenors
Jia Hui Lee (University of Bayreuth)
Thursday 25 July, -
Time zone: Europe/Madrid
Add to Calendar:

Short Abstract:

We are dependent upon machines for most of our tasks. Yet, access, affordability, reliability, breakability, and the afterlives of technologies are unevenly distributed. This panel invites scholars to explore multi-faceted distortions and interfaces of technologies across geographies.

Long Abstract:

Technological adoption (automobility, ICT, AI) in contexts beyond the Western world is often viewed through the prism of access, affordability, reliability, and breakability. Anthropological theorisations of technological consumption in these contexts have given rise to concepts such as ‘invisible users’ (Jenna Burrell) or ‘tropicalisation’ (Jojo Verrips and Birgit Meyer) to emphasize, on the one hand, the non-centrality of such consumers to designers and, on the other hand, the consumers’ need to negotiate technological access and forge strategies vis-a-vis breakdown and emergent waste. Such negotiations create technological gaps, environmental outcomes, and financial risks. We also see discrepant consequences of features of techno-capitalism across geographies, e.g. when it comes to planned obsolescence, intellectual property, and circular economy.

This panel seeks papers that theorize political economies and experience of technological adoption beyond the Western world and use innovative ethnography to respond to the following questions:

- What are the specific avenues for ensuring affordability and access to technologies in contexts marked by financial scarcity?

- What are specific ways in which people engage with technologies and their infrastructures, especially with regards to reliability and breakability?

- How do emergent and changing developments in technological markets (changing forms of IP, circular economy, planned obsolescence, new trends in electrification such as battery use) extend beyond the geographies of their conceptualisation and design?

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 25 July, 2024, -