People and communities across the world use, are affected by, and can shape the evolution of information and communication technologies. Research at TEM draws on social-scientific and humanities approaches—particularly ethnographic methods—to explore tensions, opportunities, and complexities of sociotechnical systems in resource-constrained settings.
Mobile-Centric Internet Use
For many people in the developing world, the mobile phone will be the first, primary, or only means of accessing the internet. TEM explores "mobile centric" internet use by:
- mobile-only social network users in Indian Slums
- first-time mobile internet users in South Africa
- teenagers combining shared-access public library PCs and their own mobile phones in Urban South Africa
ICT use by Micro and Small Enterprises
ICTs are transforming markets and increase economic opportunity, particularly for hundreds of millions of micro- and small- enterprises throughout the developing world. TEM studies include:
- repair shops and informal ICT skill acquisition in Indian slums
- context-specific informal commercial practices including airtime sharing and download sales
- the information behaviours of urban Indian microenterprises
Participation and Inclusion
Mobile and other digital media create new opportunities and channels for citizen participation in politics, civil society, and culture. TEM explores this promise by:
Household Media Ecologies
Household practices around media and computing are changing as new technologies are adopted by families around the world. TEM looks at these micro-ecologies through studies of:
Reviews and Methods
ICT4D is a multidisciplinary and dynamic field. TEM researchers contribute to its evolution and best practice through meta-reviews, theoretical pieces, and methods papers such as:
TEM has also offered contextual analysis and critique on other topics, including the use and design of mobile money systems. Recently we have begun to look at non-instrumental use of ICTs in the workplace.
- Aditya Vashistha, Edward Cutrell, and William Thies, Increasing the reach of snowball sampling: The impact of fixed versus lottery incentives, ACM – Association for Computing Machinery, March 2015.
- Ariel Schwartz, Mohini Bhavsar, Edward Cutrell, Jonathan Donner, and Melissa Densmore, Optimizing Mobile Deployments, no. MSR-TR-2014-45, 1 April 2014.
- Nimmi Rangaswamy and Melissa Densmore, Understanding jugaad: ICTD and the tensions of appropriation, innovation and utility, in Proceedings of ICTD 2013, the 6th International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development, Cape Town, South Africa, ACM, December 2013.
- Anjali K. Mohan, Edward Cutrell, and Balaji Parthasarathy, Instituting credibility, accountability and transparency in local service delivery? The Helpline and Aasthi in Karnataka, India, in in Proceedings of ICTD 2013, the 6th International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development, ACM, December 2013.
- Nimmi Rangaswamy and Payal Arora, Digital leisure for development: Reframing new media practice in the global south, in Media, Culture, Society, September 2013.
- Jonathan Donner and Marion Walton, Your phone has internet - why are you at a library PC? Re-imagining public access for the mobile internet era, in Interact: 14th IFIP TC13 Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, Springer, September 2013.
- Preeti Mudliar, Jonathan Donner, and William Thies, Emergent Practices Around CGNet Swara: A Voice Forum for Citizen Journalism in Rural India, in Information Technologies & International Development, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 65-79, 11 June 2013.
- Nimmi Rangaswamy and Ed Cutrell, Anthropology, Development, and ICTs: Slums, Youth, and the Mobile Internet in Urban India, in Information Technologies & International Development, MIT Press, June 2013.
- Nimmi Rangaswamy and Ed Cutrell, Local Pocket Internet and Global Social Media Bridging the Digital Gap: Facebook and Youth Sub-Stratum in Urban India, IFIP 9th International Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries, May 2013.
- Jonathan Donner and Cecile Bezuidenhoudt, In a world with mobile data, survey questions about Internet use should no longer implicitly favor PCs , in Mobile media practices, presence and politics: The challenge of being seamlessly mobile, Routledge, May 2013.
- Nimmi Rangaswamy and Neha Kumar, The Mobile Media Actor-Network in Urban India, ACM Sig CHI 2013, April 2013.
- Nimmi Rangaswamy, Mobile Untamed: New Media in the digital shadow lands of India, Association of Asia Studies, March 2013.
- Marion Walton and Jonathan Donner, Public access, private mobile: The interplay of shared access and the mobile Internet for teenagers in Cape Town, University of Cape Town, October 2012.
- Nimmi Rangaswamy and Edward Cutrell, Re-Sourceful networks: Notes from a mobile social networking platform in India, in Pacific Affairs, September 2012.
- Nimmi Rangaswamy and Edward Cutrell, Anthropology, development and ICTs: Slums, youth and the mobile internet in urban India, in Proceedings of ICTD 2012, the 5th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development , ACM, July 2012.
- Nithya Sambasivan and Edward Cutrell, Understanding negotiation in airtime sharing in low-income microenterprises, in CHI 2012: Proceedings of the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM Conference on Computer-Human Interaction, May 2012.
- Marshini Chetty, Richard Banks, A.J. Bernheim Brush, Jonathan Donner, and Rebecca Grinter, "You're Capped!" Understanding the Effects of Bandwidth Caps on Broadband Use in the Home, in CHI 2012, ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, May 2012.
- Preeti Mudliar, Jonathan Donner, and William Thies, Emergent Practices Around CGNet Swara, A Voice Forum for Citizen Journalism in Rural India, in Proceedings of the International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development, ACM, March 2012.
- Nimmi Rangaswamy and Sumitra Nair, Marginal Rich Users in Urban Indian Slums , ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, February 2012.
- Nimmi Rangaswamy and sumitra nair, The PC in an Indian Urban Slum: ICT, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship in ICT4D 2.0, in Journal of Information technology for Development, Routledge, February 2012.
- Nimmi Rangaswamy and sumitra nair, De(coding) the poor: Towards a transparent and accountable NREGA information infrastructure, IFIP 9th International Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries, February 2012.
- Thomas Smyth and N Rangaswamy, Assembling and Aggregating Mobile Phones: The Social Ecology of Grey Mobile Phone Markets in Urban India, Mobiles for Development, 2012 NCR India, February 2012.
- Jonathan Donner and Patricia Mechael, mHealth in Practice: Mobile technology for health promotion in the developing world, Bloomsbury Academic, 2012.
- Nimmi Rangaswamy and Srikanth Yamsani, ‘Mental Kartha Hai’ or ‘Its Blowing my Mind:Evolution of the Mobile Internet in an Indian Slum, Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference, October 2011.
- Nimmi Rangaswamy and Nithya Sambasivan, Cutting chai, Jugaad, and Here Pheri: Towards a UbiComp for a Global community, in Personal and Ubiquitous Computing , vol. 15, no. 6, pp. 553-564, Springer Verlag, June 2011.
- Nimmi Rangaswamy, Short Message Social Networking and Emerging Digital Literacies, IFIP 9th International Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries, May 2011.
- Jonathan Donner, Shikoh Gitau, and Gary Marsden, Exploring mobile-only internet use: results of a training study in urban South Africa, in International Journal of Communication, vol. 5, pp. 574–597, 11 April 2011.
- Marion Walton and Jonathan Donner, Read-Write-Erase: Mobile-mediated publics in South Africa’s 2009 elections, in Mobile Communication: Dimensions of Social Policy, pp. 117-132, Transaction Publishers, 4 April 2011.
- Rajeev Rastogi, Ed Cutrell, Manish Gupta, Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Ramkumar Narayan, and Rajeev Sanghal, Connecting the next billion web users, in Proceedings of the 20th international conference companion on World wide web, ACM, New York, NY, USA, April 2011.
- Nimmi Rangaswamy, The ‘Short Message Service’ Authors: Authoring Social Media in India, Type the publisher's Digital media and learning conference, Long Beach, March 3-5, 2011name, February 2011.