Sandeep Mertia, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication, has been awarded the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant in the Science & Technology Studies Program. His dissertation project, “Starting-up with the State: Computing, Entrepreneurship, and Governance in India,” is an ethnography of technology start-ups and incubators in India.
Focusing on the everyday imaginaries, infrastructures, and practices of techno-entrepreneurship in a big city and a small-town, Mertia’s dissertation investigates how promissory futures of digital innovation emerge and circulate in different socio-technical contexts.
By comparatively studying the techno-entrepreneurial journeys of aspirational youth in two cities, this project seeks to illuminate the hopes and discontents associated with an ever-accelerating digital economy.
This grant will support Mertia’s ongoing virtual and in-person fieldwork research on the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on computational cultures and on the lives of current and aspiring techno-entrepreneurs in India. Read more details about the project on the NSF website.
Mertia is a PhD candidate and an NYU Urban Doctoral Fellow. He is an Information and Communication Technology engineer by training, and a former Research Associate at the Sarai programme, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in Delhi. He recently published the edited volume Lives of Data: Essays on Computational Cultures from India (Institute of Network Cultures, 2020 open access), a culmination of a series of research projects and workshops hosted at the Centre.