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Identity, Labor, and the Work of Producing Digital Technologies ‘From the Periphery’

Mon, May 28, 9:30 to 10:45, Hilton Prague, Floor: M, Chez Louis Salon


From Accra to Rio, technology entrepreneurs and makers in the global south are designing digital technologies for their own socio-economic and cultural milieu. Their production and industry practices however remain largely unrecognized in media and communication studies. In this paper, I situate the design and entrepreneurial practices of African tech workers as central to making sense of the ways that labor in the global south is undergoing change in and through digital technology industries. I show how a diverse group of tech workers locate and interpret their design and production choices, within the global discourse of ‘innovation’, reflecting on what it means to be producing technologies ‘from the periphery’. I argue that their reflexivity is crucial for deciphering not only the global logics of the making and distributing of specific technology products/services, but also the making of a new professional identity in the global digital technology industry.