Inequality Discussion Group - Palashi Vaghela

Event Date

11/19/2019 - 11:45

CSI affiliates are invited to join us at our Inequality Discussion Group on Tuesday, November 19, in Uris 360.  Palashi Vaghela (Ph.D. Student, Information Science), Traveling inequalities Politics of aspirations in ICTD work.

Lunch served beginning at 11:30am.

Abstract: Do aspiration based design of technologies reduce inequality? In a recent move to distinguish designing technologies for international development from other commercial uses, Information Communication Technologies for Development (ICTD) as a field is moving away from traditional framework of needs of individual users or communities to thinking about aspirations of the individual or community. In this talk, I trace the politics of aspiration that are constructed in international development programs looking to empower rural women in India with technology. Through two ethnographic case studies, I challenge the claim that operationalizing aspirations (instead of 'needs') for designing technologies can overcome social inequality; I argue that they rather produce 'traveling inequalities' in the target communities. I bring into conversation theoretical insights from Science and Technology Studies, Feminist theory and ICTD to show how a move from needs to aspirations continues to re/produce old or new inequalities and how that might not change without a radical reimagination of the idea of aspirations itself.

CSI’s Inequality Discussion Groups bring together Cornell faculty and graduate students from around campus to discuss and improve their in-progress research. For a full list of this term’s Inequality Discussion Groups, see our calendar.