The 'Digital Others'
Publication Type:Journal Article
Source:Seminar, Volume 694, p.40-43 (2017)
BANGALORE enjoys the distinction of being called the IT capital of India. The city has become an attractive destination for all kinds of employment in the last three decades, enticing different classes of people from across India. The opportunities for work in the city have multiplied enormously due to its rapid growth and socio-economic transformation, driven especially by the IT (information technology) industry. Along with the global information technology industry, new kinds of jobs and modes of work (both ‘formal’ and ‘informal’) have emerged, especially in low-end support services such as hospitality, housekeeping, security and transport. The city’s expanding service economy has attracted migrants from small towns and rural areas of Karnataka and different parts of India. While the software services sector has dominated popular and academic discourses on the work culture of Bangalore, in this essay I focus on a different segment of the city’s service sector and its diverse forms and modes of work, which are conspicuous but hardly discussed. Like work in the IT and ITES (IT enabled services) industries, the work culture I describe also revolves around digital technology, but of a different kind: the modest, yet the most desired media object of contemporary times – mobile phones. The workers who deploy this technology and their media practices are quite different from middle class engagements with digital technologies