SOAS University of London

Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

On the Jugaad Image: Embodying the Mobile Phone in India

Amitabh Rai (Queen Mary)

Date: 13 November 2013Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 13 November 2013Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G51

Type of Event: Seminar

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Amitabh Rai, Queen Mary University - On the Jugaad Image: Embodying the Mobile Phone in India

In this essay I pose ontological questions of the embodiment of mobile phone technologies through a method of media assemblage analysis that takes ethical experimentation as its mode of expression, and machinic sensations as its ontology of becoming. The name for this throughout much of South Asia is jugaad, or a pragmatic workaround a given obstacle or scarcity of resources. In other words, this essay analyses mobile telephony (focusing on the strategic example of India) by foregrounding a sensorial ethics of habituation (assembling sentient ecologies) as central to an understanding of contemporary media assemblages. As one of the most competitive and fastest growing mobile market in the world, India's heterogeneous mobile cultures provide an excellent window into the processes of globalization, consumerism, digital control, piracy, bodily habituation, and new media assemblages. In this essay I take the affective capacities (the bodily capacity to affect and be affected) as the starting point for understanding the history, mutations, effects, force, value, and sense of the mobile phone in India.

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