On the Importance of Price Information to Fishers and to Economists

23 Oct 2014
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

470 Stephens Hall

Event Type

Jenna Burrell
Associate Professor, School of Information, University of California, Berkeley

The notion that fishers and farmers use mobile phones to acquire market price information has become a kind of shorthand for the potential of this technology to empower rural, low-income populations in the Global South. In this talk, I will discuss several recent projects I’ve undertake with collaborators Janaki Srinivasan and Elisa Oreglia that interrogate and complicate this simple formulation. This work considers the translation of ‘market prices’ from neoclassical economic model, to development policy truism, to application in technological system building.  Yet, the technological systems that often result, called market information systems or MIS, often fail to gain users or affect prices or profits in the ways that have been promised. Our ethnographic work among fishers in Kerala, India, on Lake Victoria in Uganda, and farmers in Northern rural China surfaces counter-narratives about mobile phones (and market price) that could explain why.


This event is sponsored by CSTMS.
Additional sponsorship comes from:  Berkeley Program in Science and Technology Studies • Office for the History of Science and Technology
Office for the History of Science and Technology

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