Digital anthropologist Payal Arora examines the online lives of millions of people in China, India, Brazil, and across the Middle East—home to most of the world’s internet users – and reveals that many assumptions about internet use in developing countries are wrong.
Why do citizens of states with strict surveillance policies appear to care so little about their digital privacy? Why do Brazilians avoid geo-tagging on social media? What drives young Indians to friend “foreign” strangers on Facebook and give “missed calls” to people? Through extensive fieldwork in factory towns, slums, townships, and favelas, Payal Arora assesses real patterns of internet usage in countries outside the West. Her findings provide a truly global – and often surprising –perspective on our relationship to digital technology.
Dr. Payal Arora is the Founder of Catalyst Lab and Associate Professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam, where in 2017 she was awarded the University Education Prize. Her research focus lies in digital cultures and social inequality, new media activism, edutainment and IT for international development. She has research and consulting experience in both the private and public sectors and is the author of several books, the latest of which is The Next Billion Users (2019).