Transnational Informality and HCI

Overview

Developments in technologies and transportation are facilitating and sustaining transnational networks around the world that circumvent the closed borders of nation states. This project looks to understand the social and technical infrastructures that shape these networks, along with studying their interaction with new and old technologies.

Research Project: Politics and Communication Practices of New Immigrants

New immigrants needing to settle, “integrate”, and socialize while also maintaining relationships back home. This presents significant opportunities and challenges in terms of understanding how immigrants maintain relationships, what technologies and practices have been adopted and adapted, how do international politics shape technology use, and what are the potential barriers encountered.

Design Project: Community-driven Fintech Systems

Through an ethnographic account of the difficulties faced by immigrant communities living in Toronto, we document the creative ways actors circumvent challenges through leveraging informal social relations. These findings are informing the design phase of the project, where we are creating an informal fintech system that leverages community trust through social regulation within a closely-knit community.

This system will soon be deployed in immigrant communities in Toronto.

Research Project: Trucking, Immigration, and Automation

This project looks at how the immigrant trucker community in Canada is affected by technology initiatives such as automation. The focus here is the broader impacts of automation, and how they can potentially disrupt informal transnational networks and communities back in the home country of the immigrants.

Publications

  1. Rohanifar, Y., Chandra, P., et al. (2021). (Deferred to CHI 2021) Money Whispers: Informality, International Politics, and Immigration in Transnational Finance. In Proceedings of the 2021 SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems. ACM.
  2. Studying the underlying technical infrastructure of immigrant populations (currently in progress)
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Priyank Chandra
Postdoctoral Fellow

I study design and informality focusing on communities who live on the margins.