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© 2018 Devika Narayan

Organizations | Technology | Workplace

The proliferation of smart devices, new cloud-based computing, ubiquitous internet, and large-scale data extraction are together reshaping the social world.  The digital economy dominated by 'Big Tech' companies and new asset-light 'apps' that alter consumption is the most visible manifestation of this rupture. My goal is to demonstrate the far-reaching effects of these shifts extend beyond the domain of the the 'digital economy' in advanced industrialized regions. 

A recent wave of layoffs, the decline of traditional IT services, and the creation of new software services, reflect a new era of software consumption by Fortune 500 companies, this industry’s main clientele. Interviews with corporate executives, middle managers, coders, trade analysts, and members of new IT worker unions reveal the rise of a less labor-intensive and more elastic regime of cloud-enabled corporate IT. This study focuses on the managerial, organizational, and labor related reconfigurations associated with this development.

I anchor this project in emerging debates on platform capitalism as well as long standing debates on industrial and organizational change. My analysis shows how new technologies and managerial paradigms traverse networked global geographies. Broadly, this work engages economic sociology, critical management studies, labor studies, digital sociology, and social theory.

Finance Capital | Speculation | Urban Studies 

Another strand of my research focuses on financialization. Over the last few decades the rise of finance capital has altered the structure of the economy, infusing into it new managerial practices and business logics. I am involved with an NSF funded interdisciplinary project that investigates speculative capital and the reshaping of urban centers in India. In this context I study how the dynamics of speculative capital alter urban landscapes and industrial processes. Specifically, I focus on real estate and urban infrastructure, as well as the the role of venture capital in structuring the technology sector. My research on the real estate sector in India examines the influx of global private equity and the distinct business practices that are activated.  

An article I co-authored on resource crises and speculative capital titled, "Water crisis through the analytic of urban transformation: an analysis of Bangalore's hydrosocial regimes" was published by Water International, a peer-reviewed journal. Another co-authored article manuscript on private equity and real estate bubbles in India is currently under review.

Photo Credit: Devika Narayan 2018