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Panel, ECSAS Warsaw 2016 : Technology, technicians and the state in South Asia

ECSAS logoEuropean Conference on South Asian Studies, Warsaw, 27-30th July 2016

Technology, technicians and the state in South Asia: political and social uses of technical knowledge

Convenors : Vanessa Caru (CNRS) & Bérénice Girard (EHESS Paris)

This panel invites reflexions and case studies on the political and social uses of technology in South Asia. Technology is here understood in an extensive manner to include different types of technical knowledge, practices and tools. The centrality of technology in government policies has been widely discussed in contemporary research. This panel would like to discuss this centrality while adopting a historical perspective on the evolving political use of technology and a specific focus on South Asia.

In the years following Independence, technology was conceived as a central tool to further the economic development and social policies of South Asian countries, and technical elites were offered important roles in the implementation of technocratic development programs. The present context of liberalisation and redefinition of the role of the State seems however to have brought both new uses and actors, as well as changes in the modes of interaction between States and technologies. We invite papers discussing this dynamic, and especially welcome case studies focusing on the specific use and place of technology in social policies. We further invite papers looking at processes of defining politically pertinent technologies, as well as detailed papers on the interaction and relationship between the different technical professional groups and the State. Finally, we also invite reflexions and case studies on how technology affects States’ prerogatives, balances of power and control over political territories and spaces in South Asia.

Papers : 

Stefan Tetzlaff (EHESS-CNRS, Paris), State Policy, Technical Knowledge and Manpower Requirements: The Case of the Automobile Industry and its Workforce in India After Independence (c. 1947-2010)

Champaka Rajagopal (University of Amsterdam), The State’s Attributes of a Firm? Combining Welfare and Growth Goals: Regional Infrastructure PPP Projects in India

Klara Feldes (Humboldt University Berlin), Technology in the nexus of ‘tradition’ and ‘modernity’- the example of the Indian River Interlinking Project 

Shivani Kapoor (Jawaharlal Nehru University), ‘Something Smells Bad’ – Caste, Technology and Leatherwork in India

More infos on the panel available here

Programme of the conference available here