Thursday 20th May 2010
14:00-16:00, Room U103 (First floor, Tower 2)
“Laboring to Produce Agency:
Marketing Empowerment through Online Networks”
Professor Radhika Gajjala
Bowling Green State University
Presentation Abstract: Online Social networking tools in recent times are increasingly being used by non-profits and NGOs who are reaching out globally to find connections and networks to empower various marginalized groups in specific locales. This leads to advocacy issues being taken into global spaces where the local context is displaced and re-presented in an effort to garner material and social support for the causes that are taken up by the non-profits. Individuals who train in “social entrepreneurship” skills, mostly using online networking tools, work in these non-profits thus labor continuously to communicate across diverse contexts. The individuals form a particular kind of labor force in these online settings that are in a sense both “IT professionals” and “social workers” that perform “communicative labor” (Dempsey, 2009). In my presentation I will discuss the notions of “empowerment”, “voice” and “agency” that emerge in these online spaces.
About Professor Radhika Gajjala: Radhika Gajjala is Director of Women’s Studies and Professor of Communication and Cultural Studies at Bowling Green State University, Ohio. Her book Cyberselves: Feminist Ethnographies of South Asian Women (2004) was published by Altamira Press. She co-edited South Asian Technospaces and Webbing Cyberfeminist Practice and is currently working on a couple book length projects – one is on “Technocultural Agency: Production of Identity at the Interface” and the other examines “Affect and Placement in Indian Digital Diasporas.”