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Shriram Venkatraman

Latest India blog post

Apple and the Smartphone market in India

Fri, 06 May 2016 09:35:41 +0000

Less than a fifth of the Indian population might own a smart phone, but India is now the second largest smart phone market in the world. The large phone manufacturers see immense potential in the buying power of the Indian population. While the international brand Samsung dominates the smart phone market in India (with phones […]


India field site

India Streetview

India is well known both as a rapidly emerging economy and for its diversity. Both of these aspects are reflected in the India field site, with an approximate population of 30,000 people. A few years ago this field site, that is comprised of a selection of villages, was sanctioned as a a major economic zone with status for hi-tech companies. Since then the field site has been witnessing a transition from a rural to an urban landscape. Furthermore, the location of the field site right next to one of the biggest metropolitan cities in South India boosts the rate at which such transformation occurs. In direct relationship to such economic changes this field site has also witnessed a sudden upsurge of infrastructural development in terms of housing, schooling, businesses (small/medium and large scale), health care etc.

Such economic and infrastructural developments automatically attract migration of work force (both skilled and unskilled) from all over India. This adds to the population not just in terms of numbers alone but also in terms of its diverse demographic features such as age, gender, caste, class, religion, language, education. The population consists of a mixture between permanent settlers in the villages, migrant Hi-tech industry workers (high income and middle class), students and migrant construction workers (very low income) and several older and retired people (with their children mostly being abroad). Furthermore, this area is also seen as an investment hub by the rising middle class. This diversity itself brings forth vibrancy of a specific nature to this fieldsite.

Though the area seems to have a history of more than 250-300 years, which is evident from the ancient temples (temple history records and mythology connected with it) around this area, fortunately or unfortunately (depending on one's viewpoint) this place is now chiefly recognised due to the hi-tech industries and the transitions occurring here.

The sheer amount of diversity in this area brings with it diverse forms of communication. The integration and use of social media in this field site seems to be as spread out as the population itself. This makes the study hugely interesting. The intensive study over the next fifteen months is sure to capture the transition occurring in this area and bring forth interesting insights that will emerge in helping understand and appreciate the diversity in the integration and application of social media and the underlying unity present in them.

European Research CouncilEuropean UnionUCL Department of Anthropology

Grant number: ERC Project 2011-AdG-295486 SocNet
Project title: Social Network Sites and Social Science