About this project

The anthropologically framed research project GTGS focuses institutional practices and developmental trajectories over time and space. The ongoing ethnographic fieldwork juxtaposes data created as a result of extensive fieldwork at an NGO in Asia (MC, Mobile Creches) in the early 1990’s with data that is currently being generated at the same NGO (MMC, Mumbai Mobile Creches) during 2012-15. The overarching aim of GTGS is creating knowledge about issues related to human and societal development and communication through the lens of institutional practices.

An important interest here is to understand the sociocultural pathways of sustainable development via analysis of shifts in, and the role and usage of discursive-technological tools (language varieties, including literacies, new media, etc) by organizations in the everyday practices that frame the delivery of a range of services in complex urban settings (both in Southern contexts like India but also in the North [eg. Sweden]; see further below). Framed within postcolonial perspectives, the analytical interest in project GTGS (also titled MC-MMC and Mobility) relates to institutional practices and representations as dimensions of the distribution of knowledge in society. A specific threefold focus encompasses (i) languaging in and through social practices set up at MC-MMC six decades ago to provide a range of services for migrant construction labourers in Asian megacities (primarily); (ii) shifts in the use of discursive-technological tools across time and space (South & North); and (iii) subject positions that are evoked, enabled or disadvantaged in the everyday lives of women in urban contexts. Here in addition to the women at MC-MMC who are engaged in the provision of a wide range of services, trajectories of access and denial of access to physical, intellectual, medial, virtual spaces in both the North and South are focused.

Using cross-temporal ethnographic data (from the early 1990s and currently) from different sites of engagement, the individual studies that are and have emerged explore and attend to (i) the NGO activity system as a product of extensive social changes that accompany transmigration and the growth of urban nuclei (primarily in the South), and (ii) women’s subject positions that are en/disabled in different arenas across time (in the North and South). The results from the ethnography conducted at MC in the early 1990’s have indicated how languaging itself shapes subject positions ie. ways-of-being, including emancipatory trajectories. A current interest relates to exploring in what ways this can be discerned in the present phase of extensive changes that accompany globalization in both the North and South, through the lens of data generated in project GTGS.

Shifts in peoples’ lives across geo- and sociopolitical spaces and the disparity of material resources and experiences therein calls for systematically (re)visiting issues related to how representations mediate understandings of sustainable development, globalization, equity and personhood. Exploring the social patterning of institutional practices at an NGO and migrant communities they serve in the South, have previously highlighted how the services in themselves constitute a developmental arena. MC centers in the construction sites of the megacity both scaffold learning for the underprivileged migrants but, more significantly, also “build sustainable change” for the women service providers.

Another (broader) interest relates to understanding (i) institutions and mobility both in Southern contexts in Asia, Central America, etc as well as in the North (eg. Scandinavia, Italy, etc), (ii) institutional and mobile lives, (iii) human development and learning as these relate to the growth of institutionalized communities across time (MC-MMC) as well as across space (specifically Örebro in Sweden & Mumbai in India). Mobility as a phenomenon is not new in human ontogenetic and phylogenetic history. Using postcolonial perspectives an emerging interest here is to inform strategies vis-à-vis both social as well as linguistic sustainability in terms of the glossed and popular concepts multiculturalism, multilingualism and multiliteracies in Northern contexts from the strategies that are mundane and have grown in more complex Southern arenas over time. Furthermore, postcolonial framings are used from intersectional perspectives with the intent to re-visit equity issues in relationship to gender specifically.

Keeping to traditions in anthropologically framed projects, data generation and finely tuning the work in the project tend to go hand in hand. Participating in a range of naturally occurring activities of the institution, discussing the activities with members of the institution, studying the texts that are used and created in the activities, systematically studying the activities through analysis of recordings (rather than memory based notes), etc form aspects of the fieldwork. A specific new activity at the institution – the advocacy group including the work of the Sakhi group – has emerged as being of specific interest in the project.

In keeping with the “Third Task” (Swedish tredje uppgift) of university professors, a specific activity in project GTGS involves supporting the building up of a R&D, research and documentation unit at the MMC.

Peer-reviewed publications, including books GTGS (including project MC-MMC and Mobilitity):

Bagga-Gupta, Sangeeta (in press 2014). Performing and accounting language and identity: Agency AS actors-in-(inter)action-with-tools. In P. Deters, Xuesong Gao, E. Miller and G. Vitanova-Haralampiev (Eds.) Interdisciplinary approaches to theorizing and analyzing agency and second language learning. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Bagga-Gupta, Sangeeta (accepted 2014). Languaging. Theorizing communication across sites. In Heli Paulasto, Lea Meriläinen, Helka Riionheimo & Maria Kok (Eds). Language Contacts at the Crossroads of Disciplines. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Bagga-Gupta, Sangeeta, Hasnain, Imtiaz & Mohan, Shailendra (2013). Introduction: (Re)searching language, culture and identity. In Imtiaz Hasnain, Sangeeta Bagga-Gupta & Shailendra Mohan (Eds). Alternative Voices: (Re)searching Language, Culture and Identity... pp 1-27. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Hasnain, Imtiaz, Bagga-Gupta, Sangeeta & Mohan, Shailendra (Eds.) (2013). Alternative Voices: (Re)searching Language, Culture and Identity... Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Bagga-Gupta, Sangeeta (2012). Challenging understandings of Bilingualism in the Language Sciences from the lens of research that focuses Social Practices. In Eva Hjörne, Geerdina van der Aalsvoort & Guida de Abreu (Eds.) Learning, social interaction and diversity – exploring school practices. pp 85-102. Rotterdam: Sense.

Bagga-Gupta, S. (2012). Privileging identity positions and multimodal communication in textual practices. Intersectionality and the (re)negotiation of boundaries. In Anne Pitkänen-Huhta & Lars Holm (Eds.) Literacy Practices in Transition: Perspectives from the Nordic countries. pp 75-100. Cleavland: Multilingual Matters.

Bagga-Gupta, Sangeeta (1995). Human Development and Institutional Practices: Women, Child Care and the Mobile Creches. Linköping Studies in Arts & Sciences 130. Doctoral Dissertation. Linköping University. Sweden.

International peer-reviewed conferences:

MMC & Bagga-Gupta, Sangeeta (2014). Accessing global communities through local resources? A study of barriers and facilitators of first generation women users of new communication technologies. LanDpost international conference: Languaging and Diversity in the age of post-colonial glocal-medialization. 15-17 October 2014, Mysore, India.

Bagga-Gupta, Sangeeta (2014). Current challenges of researching literacies in “multilingual, multimodal” glocal settings in the North and South. AILA World Congress (International Applied Linguistics Association)“One World – Many Languages” – Panel “Researching Literacy Practices – Transitions”. Organizers Lars Holm & Anne Pitkänen-Huhta. 10-15 August 2014. Brisbane, Australia.

Bagga-Gupta, Sangeeta (2013). (Re)searching languaging and identity positions: Performances and accountings. International LIMCUL workshop: Materials and Analyses for Research on Multilingual Youth and Adults – qualitative perspectives (MeMARY). 25-26 November 2013. Stockholm, Sweden.

Bagga-Gupta, Sangeeta (June 2013). Language and Diversity across time and space. Representations loose in Northern sites and losing sight of democratic agendas in the global North? International conference on Language and Super-diversity. Explorations and Interrogations. 5-7 June 2013, Jyväsklä, Finland.

Bagga-Gupta, Sangeeta (Feb-March 2013). Multilingual, Multimodal Languaging. Theorizing Communication Across Sites. CROSSLING Symposium: Language Contacts at the Crossroads of Disciplines. 28 Feb – 1 March 2013. University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland.

Bagga-Gupta, Sangeeta (December 2012). Scaffolding social developmental trajectories in an Asian megacity. NGO’s as sites for sustainable change. Featured paper at the Conference on Anthropology and Sustainability in Asia, CASA 2012, December 2012. Bangkok, Thailand.

Bagga-Gupta, Sangeeta (May 2012). “Scaffoldning identitites and learning at construction sites”. Literacies and representations as mediation across time and space in an Indian NGO. Panel “Asian Mediations II: South Asia” SANT-NAF Anthropology conference. 4-6 May 2012, Stockholm.