Information Infrastructures in India: The Long View

Information Infrastructures in India: The Long View

By Pradip Thomas

Infrastructure has defined India. The British had introduced India to the infrastructures of modernity including railways, roads, the telegraph, and cities. However, these infrastructures were made for purpose for colonial means and ends. Successive governments in post-Independent India were tasked with investing in infrastructures and democratizing access to infrastructures. This volume explores India’s experiences with information infrastructures—beginning with the telegraph in colonial India to broadcasting, satellite, oceanic cables, and information platforms. It highlights the fact that there are continuities in infrastructure, that there is a political-economy related to information infrastructures and that access to infrastructures is by no means universal or straight forward but is undergirded by the politics of power, caste, gender, and class. In the era of the platform economy, there are close correspondences between infrastructures and platforms although it is only recently that attempts have been made to regulate platform infrastructures. This volume explores infrastructure continuities and disruptions, enabling, and disabling infrastructures, the relationship between the State and information infrastructures, and the steady involvement of the private sector in the provisionings of large, public information infrastructures in India. Based on conversations with infrastructure theory, this volume attempts to make “invisible” information infrastructures visible and makes a strong case for information infrastructures to be taken seriously as a focus for academic enquiry.


Front Matter
1 When Infrastructure Studies Meets Digital India (DI)
2 Empire Infrastructure
3 The East India Company, the Victorian Internet, and Information Anxieties in India
4 Broadcasting and Infrastructure Politics in Post-Independent India
5 The Satellite Infrastructure
6 The Infrastructure of Oceanic Cable
7 The Platformized Information State
8 Interpreting Information Infrastructures
End Matter

Pradip Thomas is Associate Professor, School of Communication and Arts at the University of Queensland, and member of IAMCR.

The above text is from the publisher’s description of the book:

Title: Information Infrastructures in India: The Long View
Author: Pradip Thomas
Published: 2022
Publisher: Oxford University Press

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