Postcolonial Intersection in Digital India: Naviagation Gendered Spaces in Information and Communication Technology

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Shukla, Sakshi
Chaudhuri, Mayurakshi
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Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur
With the digital revolution of the 21st century, the Information and Communication Technology (I.T.) industry has loomed with noteworthy gender trends creating a new space of knowledge and evolving culturally with the construction of techniques and technologies. As a natural corollary, such realignments have affected gender constructions and social transitions. Even though new rearrangements are quite at play and where symbolic capital negotiates and navigates a plethora of gender relations across diverse geo-social scales and informs various forms of mobilities. In this dissertation, I examine the dynamics of how individuals and inequalities are reconstructed across multiple scales of the individual, the family and the workplace through their mobility (or lack of it) by bringing in a postcolonial gender lens to the significant discussion of the intertwining of mobility and intersectionality studies and by exploring the multiple conjunctions focusing on the professionals of the Indian I.T. industry. These dynamics contest across various social-geographic scales—individual, family, and workplace, and have constant interventions on producing new rearrangements in gender relations. Despite the new realignments, and as the dissertation debates using ethnographic cases, the critiques of colonialism and postcolonialism constantly intervene where images of the “new woman,” “colonial masculinity,” or a “new patriarchy” continued to be constructed, contested, and even imagined on multiple levels. This dissertation explores the process of gendering at three different scales. On the first scale, I have examined an individual’s identity consumption as gender roles naturalization varies across various scales, problematizing around family and workplace. Second, I investigate the family’s setup in creating a gendered milieu and subtly influencing work culture within the I.T. industry. Third, I examine the roots of gendering in the I.T. industry especially for women professionals in each hierarchical mark. I have examined the vivid gendered experiences and realities of I.T. professionals from diverse social and economic backgrounds in contemporary India. In this dissertation, gender remains the center of discussion across the scales leading to various realizations of social configurations in affluent social-individual realities and experiences. This dissertation is based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Bengaluru, India, between February 2019 and June 2020. At the theoretical level, this dissertation categorized the significant frameworks into various levels and contributed with imagining a new theoretical framework: Intersectional Im/mobilities. The new framework bridges major theories (Meta) and assisting theories (Meso) —to broaden the scope of analysis and understanding of the diverse, dynamic gender notions contesting each other. In my work, I bring in the postcolonial gender lens from the periphery to the core of the discussion and examine the deeply rooted history of gendered spaces in digital India; although globalized, I.T. professions continue to be encountering colonial past and postcolonial intersections. The dissertation builds on existing theoretical frameworks and makes a significant evidence-based contribution to the scholarships of gender and mobility studies, theorizing in postcolonial and South Asian literature.
Shukla, Sakshi. (2023).Postcolonial Intersection in Digital India: Naviagation Gendered Spaces in Information and Communication Technology (Doctor's thesis). Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur, Jodhpur.