Paper Title: Seams that Matter in Approaches to Study Processes of Marginalization
Author: Ranjit Singh
Workshop: Solidarity Across Borders
Venue: The 21st ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW), New York
Date: 4 November 2018
This paper outlines the trajectory of my ethnographic research on the design and use of India’s national biometrics-based identification project, Aadhaar. My research unpacks the heterogeneous seams between Aadhaar and the Indian bureaucracy that challenge the processes of claiming social welfare in India. It situates marginality as an outcome of troubles in navigating these seams and documents the lived experiences and invisible work of data subjects (Aadhaar users) in representing themselves through their data records. I conclude by arguing that a focus on seams is not just a useful heuristic in approaching questions of inclusion and equity in the design and use of ICTD, but it is also a useful tactic in understanding and bridging the differences in the research of the Solidarity Across Borders workshop participants.