Nafis Aziz Hasan

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Los Angeles, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9819

Approve Date

April 30, 2019

Project Title

Hasan, Nafis (California, Los Angeles, U. of) "Techno-politics of ICTs: Investigating Practices and Social Relations in Indian Bureaucracies"

NAFIS HASAN, then a graduate student at University of California, Los Angeles, California, received a grant in April 2019 to aid research on ‘Techno-politics of ICTs: Investigating Practices and Social Relations in Indian Bureaucracies,” supervised by Dr. Akhil Gupta. Pursuing a research interests in the emerging digitization of public bureaucracies in India, the grantee conducted research among technologists and bureaucrats involved in the production of digital artifacts for government. Guided by the question of transforming expertise and knowledge required to introduce new forms of material changes to the working of bureaucracies, in-depth interviews and observations were conducted at the National Informatics Centre, a government owned technology organization and Telebu, a technology startup in Bangalore, India. Here the grantee interviewed a range of technologists from the director to contracted software developers and observed the functioning of the data center, a key institutional site for the introduction of digital systems. Through a three-month internship at Telebu, the grantee observed the techno-social relations among people, technology and communicative practices. Since the desire to use technology to ‘reform’ public bureaucracies is an intrinsic part of the history of the modern state in India, archival research at the National Archives was conducted to historicize present findings. Perusing records from the 1970s highlights differences in the conceptual and organizational elements of technological mediation for public bureaucracies, providing an opportunity to critically analyze the shrill rhetoric of techno-utopia that accompanies present interventions.