media, information, the contemporary

Author: Sandeep Mertia

  • Call for Abstracts – Lives of Data Workshop

    The Sarai Programme invites submission of abstracts for the ‘Lives of Data’ workshop. Besides academic researchers, we strongly encourage media, design and software practitioners to apply for the workshop. Abstracts should not exceed 300 words, and should be sent to by 15 September, 2016, with the subject heading ‘Proposal for the Lives of Data Workshop.’ Authors of the selected abstracts will be notified by 01 October, 2016. The workshop will be held on 06-07 January, 2017 at Sarai-CSDS, 29 Rajpur Road, Delhi…

  • HillHacks Pre-Event – Saturday, 30 April

    The Sarai Programme is excited to host the Delhi pre-event of HillHacks on Saturday, 30 April, 2016.

    The pre-event will be a relaxed combination of demonstrations and discussions of all things relates to hacking, making, and living in a technology-mediated world. There will be two thematic sessions focused on Art/Design/Technology and Mapping respectively.

    To RSVP, please send an email to

  • The Act Of Media Workshop – Report & Recordings

    The Act of Media Workshop, 08-10 January 2016, brought together academics, researchers, and legal practitioners, to discuss themes that were broadly related to law, media and technology. One of the main aims of the workshop was to breakdown disciplinary boundaries, and rethink categories such as ‘media law’. The workshop was divided into six substantive sessions,…

  • Understanding Rural Techno-Culture and Social Media

    The ethnographic studies on ICTs in rural areas, including my own earlier work, have often focused only on those factors which seem to most directly affect success or failure of technology led development. This was perhaps for a good reason, given the millennial euphoria of ICT4D. Moving forward however, one needs a broader understanding of socio-technical changes in rural life, which have outpaced scholarship. In this final research note, I would like to introduce some important features of the ‘rural’ socio-technical context by presenting a comparative picture of my two field sites, briefly discussing the emerging discursive practises of social and digital media access and uncertainties which characterise ICT ecologies in the villages…

  • Rural Social Media – A Meta-Digital Divide

    Of all the progenies of contemporary technological development, Digital Divide fascinates me the most. Its iatrogeny — problem inducing ways of problem solving — and capacity to reinvent is matched only by a few other problems of our age. Many scholars have tried to reconceptualise digital divide as a socio-technical problem, by pointing out the continuum of gradations between the information haves and have-nots, still there are several nuances left to be grasped…

  • Sandeep Mertia - TV Commons

    Rural Social Media and ‘Timepass’: Theorising Non-Instrumentality

    [W]e first need a language to entertain the thought of entertainment as a valid if not serious use of technology which is worth studying… [M]y preliminary findings have convinced me that the potential banality of terms like development, e-governance, digital literacy, technology adoption, innovation and even Jugaad, does not allow one to grasp the wider cosmology in which digital media is being appropriated in the village.

  • Sandeep Mertia - Computer Van

    Situating Social Media in Rural India

    While the problems of technological determinism, digital divide and the larger politics of knowledge and development are multifaceted and evoke extreme opinions ranging from technophilia to dystopia, there are some key ideas like interpretive flexibility of technology and context sensitive appropriation and access, which could help us engage in a nuanced debate on the relationships of society and technology. In case of ICTs, the interpretive flexibility is further problematized by their ability to liquidate space and time.