"While the gendered politics of technology access and the creative ways in which children are able to work as embodied interfaces is interesting – and perhaps needs more space than is afforded here – what remains interesting to me is how this story disrupts the regular narratives of techno-euphoria. It cannot be explained away merely in terms of usage. It cannot be used to claim radical social change in community and gendered relationships. It is difficult to make a technology-empowerment argument though this. What is perhaps most interesting is that it shows how we need to start thinking about digital technologies as producing new ecosystems that reconfigure our understanding of who we are and the roles we play in developing social relationality. The digital natives in these stories are not merely the children – though their embodied interface produces startling insights into how personal relationships with technologies are produced. The men who have access to the phones and have mastered digital literacy in navigating through these phones, the women who become the last-mile consumers who have found creative ways of staying connected despite their lack of access, and the children who become the nodes in this technology-information infrastructure, are all digital natives of a certain kind. They might not have claimed that identity and indeed might never want to. And yet, the very conditions of everyday life, as they are mediated by the presence of digital technologies in Banni, help us understand the social structures and information relationships in ways which are more complex than theorized by our techno-euphoric attention to network visualizations which are heavily determined by usage and action."
Pam Griffith originally shared this post:
"These children would not usually be recognized as digital natives because they are not particularly tech savvy and they do not have direct and unlimited access to the digital devices or connectivity. However, they become interfaces through which the information consumed by the male population permeates and travels to the female population in the village. The children become embodied interfaces, who imbibe the information from these digital devices and re-enact it for the women in their own private spaces. The village now has its own child-stars who not only pass on the local news and information, but also re-enact, on a daily basis, scenes, songs, and story-lines from the soaps and movies that are popular with the women in the village."
In my last post, I talked about techno-euphoria as a condition that seems to mark much of our discourse around digital technologies and the promise of the future. The euphoria, as I had suggested, man…