Computing for Many Futures: Ethnography and Technology
|Author:||Genevieve Bell Intel|
|Date:||January 27, 2005|
For the last three years, I have been conducted a multi-sited ethnographic research project in urban Asia. The world(s) that I have encountered beyond American shores is differently richer and poorer than one might expect, or arguably than we know. For rather than validating the received wisdom of the centrality of the United States as a center of innovation, technology production and consumption, the realities, even in emerging economies, suggests a very different, albeit complicated, vision. Indeed my recent experience suggests that in many ways when it comes to technology uptake, the US is more the anomaly than the rule. Technology uptake and distributions are mapping an unexpectedly new terrain of haves and have-nots, suggesting not only new centers of innovation and demand, but also, to borrow the vernacular of the wireless industry, new 'dead zones.' In this talk, I want to chart some of this terrain, using particular features of this new landscape to highlight critical divergent paths for technology's adoption and use. These new paths provide remarkable opportunities for to think, learn and experience the cultural work of technology: that is, to see the ways in which technology is linked to different cultural narratives and forms of material and cultural production, beyond the well rehearsed tropes of modernity, progress and even revolution.
BiographyGenevieve Bell, Senior Researcher, Intel Research
Genevieve Bell is a Senior Researcher within Intel Research. She is currently running a three year research project focused on gaining a better understanding of the ways in which cultural practices in urban Asia are shaping people's relationships to new information and communication technologies. Thus far, she has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in 7 Asian countries, encompassing 100 households in 17 different cities. Bell is particularly interested in issues of cultural difference as they are expressed around technology adoption and use.
Bell is a member of Peoples and Practices Research: an interdisciplinary team of research social scientists and designers embedded within Intel's advanced research and development labs. Since joining Intel, Bell has conducted ethnographic research in a variety of consumer spaces, including malls, retail districts, and museums, as well as within a range of different American households. Bell has also conducted significant research beyond the US, including a five-country, strategically situated, ethnographic study of European domestic spaces for several Intel product groups, and a study of the emerging middle classes in China and India.
Prior to joining Intel in 1998, Bell taught anthropology and Native American Studies at Stanford University. Bell received her BA/MA in anthropology from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania in 1991. She earned a PhD in cultural anthropology from Stanford University in 1998. She is working on a book based on her fieldwork in Asia; it will be published by MIT Press late in 2005.