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Play as Freedom: Implications for ICT4D
KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), Media Technology and Interaction Design, MID.
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Information and Communication Tech nologies for Development (ICT4D) deals with understanding the relationship between modern technology use and social and economic development. While play may not appear as an immediate concern to the field, a recent body of work has emerged questioning the role of play in ICT4D and the reasons behind its apparent dismissal. Some have even argued that aspects of pleasure and enjoyment get only marginal treatment within academic studies of technology more generally. In ICT4D however, concerns over lack of resources and a sense of urgency in addressing more pressing needs, creates in itself an added set of boundaries which may further restrict both the playful activities themselves, as well as their recognition in academic work. In this work I will revisit the work done in ICT4D with regards to play in order to frame the contributions that lie herein.

I will revisit in this work two distinct projects I have worked in during my PhD: the first an ethnographic fieldwork in Rah Island, Vanuatu, where I documented the first weeks of mobile phone usage; the second project took place during an internship at Microsoft Research India, where I participated in the design, development and deployment of KrishiPustak, a social networking system for low-literate users in rural areas around Hunsur district. To understand and unpack my reflections around play in both these projects, I propose a framing of play as a freedom, inspired by Amartya Sen’s work, discussing three of its roles: its instrumental role, in that play serves as a vehicle for achieving secondary outcomes, such as with educational games; its constructive role, in that play in itself unleashes an attitude of deliberation over the boundaries that surround play, questioning and re shaping those boundaries. I draw on Christena Nippert-Eng’s notion of boundary play and boundary work to explore the contributions that play has in constructively determining and reshaping values, goals and priorities in ICT4D work.

But most importantly, this thesis emphasizes play’s third role, its intrinsic role to be the starting point of any understanding: i.e. play is important because people have reasons to value play. This urges us to consider the intrinsic importance, not only to observe play as it unfolds, but to actively design for, and open up opportunities for play to occur.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2015. , 97 p.
Series
TRITA-CSC-A, ISSN 1653-5723 ; 2015:11
National Category
Computer Systems
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-167978ISBN: 978-91-7595-599-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-167978DiVA: diva2:813616
Public defence
2015-06-11, Kollegiesalen, Brinellvägen 8, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20150525

Available from: 2015-05-25 Created: 2015-05-24 Last updated: 2015-06-12Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Bodily Orientations around Mobiles: Lessons Learnt in Vanuatu
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Bodily Orientations around Mobiles: Lessons Learnt in Vanuatu
2011 (English)In: Proocedings of CHI'11, 2011Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Since we started carrying mobiles phones, they have altered the ways in which we orient our bodies in the world. Many of those changes are invisible to us – they have become habits, deeply engrained in our society. To make us more aware of our bodily ways of living with mobiles and open the design space for novel ways of designing mobiles and their interactions, we decided to study one of the last groups of users on earth who had not been exposed to mobiles: the people of Vanuatu. As they had so recently started using mobiles, their use was still in flux: the fragility of the mo-bile was unusual to them as was the need to move in order to find coverage. They were still getting used to carrying their mobiles and keeping them safe. Their encounters with mobile use exposed the need to consider somaesthetics practices when designing mobiles as they profoundly affect our bodily ways of being in the world.

National Category
Communication Systems
Research subject
Human-computer Interaction
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-166571 (URN)
Conference
CHI 2011
Note

QC 20150522

Available from: 2015-05-11 Created: 2015-05-11 Last updated: 2015-05-25Bibliographically approved
2. Appreciating plei-plei around mobiles: playfulness in Rah island
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Appreciating plei-plei around mobiles: playfulness in Rah island
2012 (English)In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems(CHI '12) / [ed] ACM, New York, NY, USA, ACM Press, 2012, 2015-2024 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

We set out to explore and understand the ways in which mobiles made their way into an environment--Rah Island in Vanuatu--for the first time. We were struck by their playful use, especially given the very limited infrastructure and inexpensive devices that were available. Based on our findings, we discuss tensions between playfulness and utility, in particular relating to socio-economic benefits, and conclude that playfulness in these settings needs to be taken as seriously as in any other setting. Additionally, we formulated three challenges when designing for play in similar settings: (1) engage intimately with the materials of inexpensive ICT; (2) revisit design recommendations for playfulness to ensure that they can travel/translate into other cultures; and (3) alleviate existing tensions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
ACM Press, 2012
Keyword
Playfulness, third wave HCI, ICT4D
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
SRA - ICT
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-113294 (URN)10.1145/2207676.2208348 (DOI)2-s2.0-84862070512 (Scopus ID)978-1-4503-1015-4 (ISBN)
Conference
SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Projects
Mobile LifeSRA TNG
Funder
VinnovaICT - The Next Generation
Note

QC 20130522

Available from: 2013-01-14 Created: 2013-01-14 Last updated: 2015-05-25Bibliographically approved
3. Awareness, transience and temporality: Design opportunities from Rah Island
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Awareness, transience and temporality: Design opportunities from Rah Island
2013 (English)In: Human-Computer Interaction – INTERACT 2013: 14th IFIP TC 13 International Conference, Cape Town, South Africa, September 2-6, 2013, Proceedings, Part II, Springer , 2013, no PART 2, 696-713 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper deals with the implications of the socialness of private communication. Drawing upon ethnographic observations of first time mobile phone users in Rah, an island in Vanuatu, we revisit the debate on how the mobile phone reconfigures private and personal communication. Our observations show how the advent of the mobile phone disrupts and challenges existing practices around how private communication is managed on the island. These observations are used to open up a design space where we explore the socialness of personal, private communication. Drawing on the analysis, we discuss three directions for future thinking of mobile interaction design: (1) designing for spatial awareness; (2) designing for transience and (3) designing with temporality. We expand on these to discuss the notion of digital patina, which we argue, is an exciting topic to explore for the design of personal, social communication.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2013
Series
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), ISSN 0302-9743 ; 8118
Keyword
awareness, design, personal communication, Privacy, social communication, temporality, transience, translucence
National Category
Human Computer Interaction
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-133410 (URN)10.1007/978-3-642-40480-1_48 (DOI)000342898400048 ()2-s2.0-84883272937 (Scopus ID)9783642404795 (ISBN)
Conference
14th IFIP TC 13 International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, INTERACT 2013; Cape Town; South Africa; 2 September 2013 through 6 September 2013
Note

QC 20131104

Available from: 2013-11-04 Created: 2013-10-31 Last updated: 2017-03-22Bibliographically approved
4. KrishiPustak: A Social Networking System for Low-Literate Farmers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>KrishiPustak: A Social Networking System for Low-Literate Farmers
2015 (English)In: Proocedings for Computer Supported Cooperative Work 2015 / [ed] ACM, 2015, 45-48 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Affordable mobile handsets and easier access to mobile internet has popularized the usage of existing social networking systems (SNSes) in the developing world. Most of these (E.g. Facebook, Twitter etc.) are text-heavy and do not work well for low-literate populations in resource constrained settings. We designed and deployed KrishiPustak, an audio-visual SN mobile application for low-literate farming populations in rural India. KrishiPustak has a text-free design, with all functionality represented by graphical icons. To support poor internet connectivity it also works in an offline mode. In this demo paper we discuss the motivations behind KrishiPustak, the design decisions we took and the development of the actual application. This demo is an abbreviated companion for a separate CSCW paper published in this conference [4].

Keyword
HCI4D, ICTD, India, Low-literate, Social media, Computer supported cooperative work, Developing countries, Interactive computer systems, Internet, Mobile telecommunication systems, Rural areas, Social networking (online), Low literates, Groupware
National Category
Communication Systems
Research subject
Human-computer Interaction
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-166569 (URN)10.1145/2675133.2675224 (DOI)2-s2.0-84939152460 (Scopus ID)
Conference
CSCW'15,March 14-18 2015 Vancouver, BC, Canada
Note

QC 20150525

Available from: 2015-05-11 Created: 2015-05-11 Last updated: 2016-03-01Bibliographically approved
5. Designing play in ICT4D: KrishiPustak, A Social Network for Rural Users
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Designing play in ICT4D: KrishiPustak, A Social Network for Rural Users
2015 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
National Category
Communication Systems
Research subject
Human-computer Interaction
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-166572 (URN)
Conference
CHI PLAY 2015
Note

QS 2015

Available from: 2015-05-11 Created: 2015-05-11 Last updated: 2015-05-25Bibliographically approved

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