Bidisha ChaudhuriLink to Page
E-governance projects in India are often purported to minimise the role of human intermediaries. They rely on machines to curtail corruption and bring more efficiency to service delivery. However, studies have found human intermediation and its affordances to be crucial, especially in developing countries where social endowment gaps pose considerable barriers to the effective use of information and communication technologies. Human intermediation in technological infrastructure is thus invisible yet inevitable. I unravel this paradox of intermediation by examining the everyday practices of two sets of intermediaries in Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan associated with everyday workings of Aadhaar, India’s digital biometric identity infrastructure. Looking at biometric technologies as ‘situated practice’, I draw on the notion of ‘infrastructuring’ to argue that the discretionary practices of human intermediaries in fact stabilise the technological system, anchoring it to a human infrastructure. So, as disruptive technologies such as Aadhaar are implemented, their effective usage will invariably rely on the potential agency of human intermediaries and their collaborative work practices.
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