DESIGNING FOR VOICE: THE CHALLENGES OF ACCESS, AUTONOMY, AND ACCOUNTABILITY
Ahmed, Syed Ishtiaque
Voice refers to a person’s ability to express their rightful opinions. This has long been a central concern for many sociologists, political scientists, and human-right activists, among others. Voice has also gotten the attention of the Computer Scientists, especially of some researchers of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Information and Communication Technology and Development (ICTD) in recent years, and various computing systems have been built to help people raise their voice in various contexts. However, the core challenges for designing appropriate computing technologies to support the voices of marginalized communities have mostly been unexplored. In this thesis, I have explored the theoretical and technical aspects of voice that are important to conceptualize the idea of voice and to design for it. This thesis presents a broad theoretical definition of voice based on the historical development of the ideas of justice and democracy, which are essential to understanding the politics and poetics of silencing. This thesis then advances two important notions of voice - “voice as a value”, and “voice as a process”. Furthermore, this thesis highlights three major components of voice that are necessary both for conceptualizing the idea of voice and for designing technologies to support a voice– access, autonomy, and accountability. These three components of voice are explained through three major projects that I completed during my Ph.D. at Cornell University. The first project is called “Suhrid”, and it was conducted with a group of low-literate rickshaw drivers in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Suhrid demonstrates the complexities around ‘access’ without which voice is not possible. The second project presented in this thesis is called “Protibadi”, which reveals the challenges with ‘autonomy’ by demonstrating the hardship of Bangladeshi women in voicing their experiences with sexual harassment. The third project focuses on the tensions around ‘accountqbility’ - an inseparable component of voice. This project is based on my study to understand the public reactions to a recent government order in Bangladesh that has enforced the registration of each mobile SIM card with the biometric information of its owner. These three projects, as a set, define the concept of and complexities around voice, and demonstrate the challenges around design ng for access, autonomy, and accountability. This thesis thus contributes to the growing interest in Computer Science, HCI, and ICTD around social justice, inequality, empowerment, and international development.
South Asian studies; Development; ICTD; Privacy and Security; Design; voice; Computer science; HCI; Bangladesh
Jackson, Steven J.
Cosley, Daniel R.; Dell, Nicola Lee
Ph. D., Information Science
Doctor of Philosophy
Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International
dissertation or thesis
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