Dr. Bidisha Chaudhuri (IIIT Bangalore): Gendering the algorithmic harm: women’s' experience of coping with the Aadhaar enabled public distribution system in India

Öffentlicher Vortrag im Rahmen des Forschungskolloquiums Ethnologie

Datum: 30. Mai 2023
Zeit: 16.15 Uhr bis 18.00 Uhr
Ort: Universität Luzern, Raum 3.B47

Bidisha Chaudhuri (IIIT Bangalore)

Gendering the Algorithmic Harm: Womens' experience of coping with the Aadhaar enabled Public Distribution Systemin India

Aadhaar, a foundational digital biometric identity platform in India, is envisaged to be a key reform mechanism to transform India’s social protection programmes for the poor, especially the delivery of food ration subsidies via the Public Distribution System (PDS). Aadhaar seeding with PDS database is aimed to remove ghost beneficiaries (duplicate and fake entries) and Aadhaar based biometric authentication (ABBA) is aimed to prevent leakages of ration to non-genuine persons. Notwithstanding these claims, there is a growing literature on its exclusionary impact on welfare beneficiaries. While incidence and nature of exclusion is well established in the existing literature, what remains under- studied are implications of such exclusion on different segments of the population based on their class, caste, gender, age, geographical and other social location. In my talk, I aim to unravel these social dimensions of exclusion caused by algorithmic sorting in welfare by drawing on my ethnographic studies of AePDS across various states in India over two years. My study explores: who the excluded beneficiaries are in terms of their social and demographic positions; how they interact with the algorithmic system and other human actors within the system; what are the different ways in which they experience exclusion and finally, how they cope with exclusion. To foreground the narratives of marginalization, I specifically focus on women’s’ experience of exclusion in AePDS and how their gendered experience is further intertwined with age, class and geographical locations. I aim to highlight the spaces and processes of algorithmic harm that affects women on the margins.