Mobiles And Marginalization: (Im)Mobilities of Technology and Development

Associate professor
Dr Arul Chib
Friday 10 Jan 2020, 12:00 - 13:00
Spoken Language
Room 3.39
International Institute of Social Studies
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In this seminar, Associate Professor Arul Chib will present a research trajectory that interrogates the role of information and communication technologies in social transformation amongst marginalized communities China, Indonesia, North Korea, Singapore and Uganda, with a central theme of gender.

He adopts a critical approach to examine identity formation and power negotiation processes, focusing on intersections of culture, gender, and race. He demonstrates influence of the social structure on technological impact, and argue for agentic strategies of resilience and resistance.

2 broad domains - healthcare settings of developing countries and transnational development

Healthcare settings 

In the first research domain, he evaluates the revolutionary potential of mHealth by applying the ICT for Healthcare Development model to account for contextual socio-structural barriers. The Input-Mechanisms-Output framework maps the growth of mHealth as an interdisciplinary research area from mobile phones to apps and recent phenomenon of wearables, simultaneously shifting the burden of care from planned interventions to organic self-care.

Transnational migration

His second line of inquiry is premised on an increasingly politicized and emergent situation of transnational immigration. Prevailing civic discourse emphasizes the beneficial relationship between mobiles and mobilities.

In contrast, he presents the influence of social context, structure and position on technology use by vulnerable transnational migrants. He concludes with comments on ‘restricted agency’, discussing the constraints of social and technological systems of (im)mobilities, and outlining current plans to design innovative systems, such as virtual reality, to enhance empathy of the ‘other’.

About the speaker

Dr Arul Chib is Associate Professor at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Singapore and former Director of the Singapore Internet Research Center at Nanyang Technological University.

Dr Chib investigates the impact of mobile phones in healthcare (mHealth) and in transnational migration issues, and is particularly interested in intersects of marginalization. He has published over 85 research articles and been awarded multiple conference paper awards. Global collaborations with the IDRC, Red Cross Red Crescent, Text to Change, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Vision, and the Singapore Ministry of Education have led to research grants of US$ 4 Mn.

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