Big congratulations to Hasib Ahsan who achieved his PhD on the 15th of February 2023
Thesis Title: The Role of Human Infrastructure: Investigating Digital Interventions in the Global South
Based on fieldwork in five distinct projects, this thesis investigates the role of human infrastructure in the context of digital interventions in the Global South. The settings are an agriculture voice message service for smallholder farmers in Bangladesh, a climate and agricultural information service associated with weather forecast using phone text messages (SMS) also for farmers in Bangladesh, a for-profit service for farmers in Cambodia using digital applications, a digital mental health intervention for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and a study of the reordering of everyday life through digital technologies in Bangladesh during the Covid- 19 pandemic. The focus on human infrastructure is inspired by research within Information & Communication Technologies and Development (ICTD), Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Science Technology Studies (STS) and more.
The findings contribute to research and practice by nuancing the understanding of the role of human infrastructure in digital interventions in the Global South. That is, Hasib empirically and conceptually extends the discussion by pointing out how human infrastructure may be ‘configured,’ ‘trained’ and ‘unravelled’ in the context of digital interventions in the Global South. The thesis shows how one cannot take the human infrastructure for granted in the sense that it has to be both configured and trained and hence is not simply somehow there. Further, the thesis discusses how a human infrastructure may unravel in the context of digital interventions in the Global South and the consequences this may have for continued service provision. These contributions may be useful for both researchers and practitioners as it adds to our understanding of the key role of human infrastructure in digital interventions in the Global South and elsewhere.