ICT for Mesh-Economy: Case-Study of an Urban Slum

The paper submits ethnography of ICT immersions in ‘information poor contexts’ through exploring socio-economic networks of a heterogeneous, low-income community in Mumbai. Here, ICT usages are embedded in two main social processes; 1) grass-root demand for communication 2) a mesh economy of formal and informal networks. We present findings from a contextual study of ICT enabled businesses in a rapidly up-scaling suburban slum amongst its low-income communities. We believe ICTs embedded in resource-stressed survival economies evolve and adapt to fit with existing economic behavior enmeshed in a range of formal and non-formal practices. We observed that here the formal/non-formal dichotomy is transcended, rendering economic distinctions irrelevant at the ground level of business networking processes. We ask if ICT’s, firstly, by the kind of technology they are, have specific potential to aid dissolution of these formal/non-formal distinctions for survival economies. Secondly, by facilitating small businesses, if they bear a special status in promoting survival, sustenance and overall development of the small business community.

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Publisher  International Federation of Information Processing


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