In India, the practice of jugaad—finding workarounds or hacks to solve problems—emerged out of subaltern strategies of negotiating poverty, discrimination, and violence but is now celebrated in management literature as a disruptive innovation. In Jugaad Time Amit S. Rai explores how jugaad operates within contemporary Indian digital media cultures through the use of the mobile phone. Rai shows that despite being co-opted by capitalism to extract free creative labor from the workforce, jugaad is simultaneously a practice of everyday resistance, as workers and communities employ hacks to oppose corporate, caste, and gender power. Locating the tensions surrounding jugaad—as both premodern and postdigital, innovative and oppressive—Rai maps how jugaad can be used to undermine neoliberal capitalist media ecologies and nationalist politics.
Introduction. A Political Ecology of Jugaad 1
Fables of the Reinvention I. Toward a Universal History of Hacking 39
1. The Affect of Jugaad: "Frugal Innovation" and the Workaround Ecologies of Postcolonial Practice 45
2. Neoliberal Assemblages of Perception and Digital Media in India 68
Fables of the Reinvention II. New Desiring Machines 102
3. Jugaad Ecologies of Social Reproduction 106
4. Diagramming Affect: Smart Cities and Plasticity in India's Informal Economy 128
Fables of the Reinvention III. A Series of Minor Events 150
Conclusion. Jugaad Jugaading: Time, Language, Misogyny in Hacking Ecologies 153
"This original and innovative work will enable a new and perhaps paradigm-shattering interpretation of the coimplication of digital assemblages, temporality, and affect. Drawing on a rich ethnographic archive, Amit S. Rai is deeply sensitive to how gender, class, and caste are implicated in emergent techno-perceptual assemblages. His invaluable book is also an effective antidote to the Eurocentricity of digital media studies."
Purnima Mankekar, author of
Unsettling India: Affect, Temporality, Transnationality
"Jugaad Time is an important intervention into cartographies of postdigital media cultures. By drawing on the specificity of South Asian cultures, it enriches our understanding of the heterogeneity of these processes. The postcolonial study of media technologies is a vibrant and crucial field of inquiry; Amit S. Rai's outstanding work is an essential contribution to global approaches to new media scholarship."
Tiziana Terranova, author of
Network Culture: Politics for the Information Age