Market Practices and the Bazaar: Technology Consumption in ICT Markets in the Global South


Local informal markets or bazaars play a central role in embedding the adoption, consumption, and reproduction of digital technologies within the economic and cultural fabric of the Global South. This paper presents ethnographic accounts of informal ICT markets in two sites, one in India and the other in Bangladesh, and assesses how technology consumption unfolds within local practices. Building on social practice theory, this paper depicts the role of materiality, relationships, and situated knowledge in the functioning of a bazaar. We discuss how this knowledge expands our understanding of the evaluation of technology and technical expertise, and the persistence of these informal spaces despite the uptake of corporatized technology marketplaces. We argue that the bazaar represents a special kind of local voice that enriches the HCI scholarship in postcolonial computing.

Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - CHI ‘17