ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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No Limits to ‘Jugaad’

Jugaad Time: Ecologies of Everyday Hacking in India by Amit S Rai, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2019; pp xix + 208, US $24.95/UK £19.99 (pb); $94.95/ £79.00 (library cloth).

The word “jugaad” evokes images of improvised contraptions and their varied quixotic and unforeseen usages, such as a very basic washing machine that is used to make lassi in Punjab, or a bicycle commonly used for the mechanised sharpening of knives in the city lanes by full-time professionals. But, this small book is devoted to the hi-tech version of jugaad in the electronic and digital realms, often considered as less open to the wily manoeuvrings of the innovative folk. The jugaad practitioners find new ways of mastering and wielding new technologies generally thought to be rather unyielding to the lay users. The work may well be the first attempt at a systematic ethnography in the field covering a number of cities and sites in the country, such as Delhi and Mumbai. Unlike the business and management-oriented works on the subject that are based on synoptic case studies, the work tries to seek insights into the very life-world of jugaad by “entering the minds” of its practitioners through the “ecologies of everyday hacking,” rather than providing a flat description of the vast range of jugaad practices as a mere technical inventory of micro and macro innovations. It does that chapter to chapter turning from one kind of terrain to another.

To quote the author from his preface,

While contemporary neo-liberal discourse has focused on jugaad as an innovation, Jugaad Time seeks to develop a political philosophy of jugaad as an embodied ethics of becoming in India’s caste- and gender-stratified smart cities.

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Updated On : 28th Jul, 2020

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