The first strand of my research historicises the making of the global data economy, looking at intertwined histories of imperial datafication and transnational labour involved in building colonial railways across Britain’s colonies. In doing so, I recast early corporations and colonial railway companies as data industries. Subsequently, I will study the contemporary data industries and labour in its global value supply chain.
The second strand of my research focuses on digital technologies and health data in the life course of Myelopathy (a degenerative neurological disease) and concomitantly, patient-centric health data governance.
I am also a Co-Investigator on an Industry SEED Project (2023) looking at volunteer-driven data governance of community platforms in Sri Lanka, with colleagues at Action Lab, Monash University, Australia.
My first large-scale research project was for my PhD (2019), where I conceptualised and conducted a policy ethnography across Sri Lanka, Nepal, India and Bangladesh, drawing on over a 100 interviews and informal conversations. This work is now available as Community Radio Policies in South Asia: A Deliberative Policy Ecology Approach (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). Importantly, the book conceptualises the theoretical approach of Deliberative Policy Ecology Approach to the study of media policy and presents an expansive critical policy ethnography conducted in South Asia. This theoretical approach has since been developed further, and has received good reviews from scholars on media governance. I am the recipient of the Best Paper Award from the Communication Policy and Technology Section at IAMCR 2018 for my paper, Airing Imperium: A Historiography of Radio Governance in South Asia.
I have since been involved in a few research projects. These include conceptualising and writing about Hated Speech and the Costs of Freedom in India (2022), which is now part of Columbia University’s Global Freedom of Expression curriculum. Further, as part of a multi-country team, I researched for and coauthored Gender-sensitive AI Policy in Southeast Asia (2023). From 2021 to 2023, I was a Country Expert (India) for the multi-country European Research Council-funded Bottom-up Initiatives and Anti-Corruption Technologies (BIT-ACT) project housed at the University of Bologna, Italy.
In my research and praxis this far, I have drawn on public pedagogy as a normative guiding principle. In keeping with this, I submitted a white paper on media policy for a national consultation with the Government of India in 2018, and contributed opinion and think pieces to newspapers and institutional websites on education and media technology policies, and data governance and democracy.