Open and/or Apolitical? A Critical Re-examination of Open Information Systems

Jul 2015- Jul 2017

PIs: Janaki Srinivasan, Bidisha Chaudhuri

Students/other researchers at IIITB involved in project: Onkar Hoysala

Funding agency: Supported by IDRC Information Networks Programme, administered by Singapore Internet Research Centre..

Description: This project formulates a theoretical framework to analyse the phenomenon of learning among users of open information systems (OIS) in which learning is taken to be indicative of positive social transformation. Drawing on practice-based situated theories of learning and critical information studies, we study learning as an everyday practice that shapes individual identity which can be then leveraged to negotiate varied life situations beyond the immediate learning of how to use an OIS. Based on this understanding of learning, we develop a framework that critically examines different levels of learning associated with the open practices of production, distribution and consumption around an open initiative. We also suggest a role for communities of practice in enabling such learning. The broader objective of this framework is to unearth the different opportunities of learning (as development) that open practices provide which were hitherto unavailable to its users


  • Chaudhuri, Bidisha; Janaki Srinivasan and Onkar Hoysala. 2021. “Learning as Participation: Open Practices and the Production of Identities.” In Arul Chib, Caitlin M. Bentley and Matthew L. Smith (Eds.) Critical Perspectives on Open Development. Empirical Interrogation of Theory Construction. MIT Press.
  • Chaudhuri, Bidisha; Purnabha Dasgupta; Onkar Hoysala; Linus Kendall and Janaki Srinivasan. 2017. “Actor-Networks and Practices of Development: Impact of a Weather Information System in West Bengal.” In Jyoti Choudrie; M. Sirajul Islam; Fathul Wahid; Julian M. Bass and Johanes Eka Priyatma (eds.) 14th International Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries (ICT4D), Yogyakarta, Indonesia. IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology Vol 504: 809-81.
  • Chaudhuri, Bidisha; Linus Kendall; Janaki Srinivasan; Onkar Hoysala, and Purnabha Dasgupta. 2017. “Understanding capabilities through everyday practice: The case of a weather information system for farmers in West Bengal.” In ACM Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development (ICTD ’17), Lahore, Pakistan.

CITAPP at IIIT Bangalore is an interdisciplinary think-tank set-up to focus on the policy challenges and the organizational demands made by technological innovation. Of particular interest to the Centre is how technological advances, along with institutional changes that harness the legitimacy and the powers of bureaucracies and market, address the needs of underserved communities.