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Cutting chai, Jugaad, and Here Pheri: Towards a UbiComp for a Global community

Nimmi Rangaswamy and Nithya Sambasivan

Abstract

This paper attempts to re-imagine ubiquitous computing and technologies for populations in resourcepoor, digitally unstable, and diversely literate environments. Extending UbiComp’s frame of reference to include any ICT with a ubiquitous presence, we articulate how technologies are adopted, accessed, used, and diffused in three urban slums of India. We showcase important local practices surrounding technology diffusion and their widespread implications for entrenching ICT use through sharing, learning, training, renewing, and extending use and access. We do this by discussing three main processes at the intersection of technology consumption, resource constraints, and cultural production specific to low-income communities in India: Cutting Chai or sharing technology ownership and maintenance to cut costs, Jugaad or workarounds in the face of resource constraints, and Here Pheri or gray market activity that subvert legal business processes. We also suggest a few design principles to provoke new kinds of inquiry and practice in the design and implementation of UbiComp for a global community.

Details

Publication typeArticle
Published in Personal and Ubiquitous Computing
URLhttp://www.springerlink.com/content/w153t472ku025920/fulltext.pdf
Pages553-564
Volume15
Number6
PublisherSpringer Verlag
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