Posts

Showing posts with the label play

Another review out on my book 'The Leisure Commons: A Spatial History of Web 2.0'

Kevin Driscoll a postdoctoral researcher at Microsoft Research, has written a thoughtful review of my book, The Leisure Commons, A Spatial history of Web 2.0 for the IEEE Annals of the History of Computing

Here are some excerpts from the review:
"Arora’s analysis of social media centers on a comparison with an older spatial technology that was also introduced with a bloom of optimism and collective imagination: the public park. For Arora, social media and the public park are both part of “the leisure commons,” spaces designed primarily for collective, nonutilitarian purposes such as play, relaxation, and socializing."

"One of Arora’s goals in The Leisure Commons is to put the critical study of social media in dialogue with the interdisciplinary body of research on urban parks. Readers will be quickly convinced by Arora’s wide-ranging exploration of park metaphors that the two fields share a number of core theoretical concerns.”

Click herefor the full review

Digital Labor talk on the 'Googlization of Workspace' at New School

Fascinating conference with artists, activists, neo-marxists, anarchists and oh yes, academics congregating to pontificate, demonstrate, and debate the relation between labor and leisure, the neoliberal agenda of the so called sharing economies, pleasure and compensation and more. Definitely worth going next year! Here's a short video on my argument on what I coin as the Googlization of Workspace. 

New partnership with Microsoft India Researcher bears fruit

Image
Nimmi Rangaswamy from Microsoft Research Labs India and I have been working on creating momentum in shifting the focus of ICTs for International Development (ICT4D) research towards a broader and less utilitarian perspective. Over the years, it has been interesting to see how Nimmi and I through our independent anthropological fieldwork were coming to a similar conclusion on the need to pay attention to "leisure" behavior of Internet users in emerging markets if we are to genuinely understand the multiple dimensions of new media practice in the global South. For instance, her research with Kentaro Toyama on cyberkiosks revealed the following:

From field ethnography, we find that urban youth slang and speech styles do not lag behind in villages. Neither do communication styles and channels. Instant messaging is immediately embraced by younger kiosk operators. Fan clubs of matinee idols bring in youth fashion and trends along with film music. Most popular films and film music …

New Paper out "Leisure Divide: Can the poor come out to play?" by The Information Development Journal

Image
My paper on "The Leisure Divide: Can the poor come out to play?" has just got published by the Information Development Journal Here's the Abstract: As billions of dollars are invested in mitigating the digital divide, stakes are raised to gain validity for these cost-intensive endeavors, focusing more on online activities that have clear socio-economic outcomes. Hence, farmers in rural India are watched closely to see how they access crop prices online, while their Orkuting gets sidelined as anecdotal. This paper argues that this is a fundamental problem as it treats users in emerging markets as somehow inherently different from those in the West. After all, it is now commonly accepted that much of what users do online in developed nations is leisure-oriented. This perspective does not crossover as easily into the Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) world, where the utilitarian angle reigns. This paper argues that much insight can be gain…

Thinking (not acting?) outside the box

Image
Have you wondered why certain sayings are phrased one way versus another? Why do we NOT say "act outside the box?" and instead push "thinking" to venture out? Coloring outside the lines is said to be good at times..but we are never told to redraw those lines. Boxes can be turned inside out but it's still the box. We need that box.

"How does one do it? " asked a student the other day; "we try so hard to get away from the 'structure' but it's so dominant and all...it's hard to escape!" Students already referring to "society" as "structure" means that she is paying attention in class...not bad, not bad at all! Taking theory and applying it to one's life to grapple about one's own existence is even better.

This is the age of the tortured soul. It is a privilege to pause, ponder, probe.
It is an achievement to recognize that we' re within a particular confinement. If we know the rules, we can play wit…