‘Social and Cultural Life of Information’ workshop

Over the past decade information culture and technologies of identification have become part of popular discourse, as regimes roll out large modernization projects aimed at populations and existing structures of governance. A growing body of scholars has turned their attention to the study of information culture and its history. The workshop aimed at bringing together research on colonial and postcolonial information infrastructures.

Engaging with the social and cultural lives of practices of information and informatised practices, the workshop included presentations on an extraordinary range of topics. A total of thirteen speakers addressed questions of production and management of paper-based governance databases of scales from urban and regional to national and imperial, informational materialities and micro-negotiations in contexts of human developments and animal conservation, processes and frameworks for standardisation of database practices of addressing travelling citizens and globally disbursed communities, media apparatuses and artifacts of production and distribution of 'reliable' information and evidence, the digital turn and information systems of urban and spatial governance, and infrastructures of and everyday citizenship practices under regimes of 'unique' biometric identifiers.

Simultaneously focusing on material requirements of production, management, circulation and deployment of data and information, and its infrastructural functions and socio-cultural lives, the workshop produced rich cross-currents of media-technological concerns. The
discussions at the workshop converged on the common themes of media infrastructures, technologies of addressing, information geographies and materiality of information artifacts.


Brian Larkin, Barnard College, Columbia University, New York  
Keith Breckenridge, University of Witwatersand, Johannesburg  
Lawrence Cohen, University of California, Berkeley
Lawrence Liang, Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore   
Miles Ogborn, Queen Mary, University of London   
Nayanika Mathur, University of Cambridge
Radhika Singha, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi
Ramah McKay, University of Minnesota   
Ravi Sundaram, Sarai, CSDS, Delhi
Ravi S. Vasudevan, Sarai, CSDS, Delhi           
Solomon Benjamin, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras  
Sumandro Chattapadhyay, Research Associate, Sarai, CSDS, Delhi
Tarangini Sriraman, Centre de Sciences Humaines, New Delhi

(Click for the workshop programme)