Brief summary of my research focus

1) Conceptualizing public and private digital culture: I theorize the growing privatization, commodification and globalization of net-based technologies and online social spaces through the intersecting of the urban and the digital commons. This is a deeply interdisciplinary approach, capitalizing on scholarship from the fields of sociology, geography, law and philosophy, architecture, media studies, and history of technology.

2) Internet usage in low-income settlements in the Global South: I conduct ethnographic studies on what motivates low-income youth in developing countries to adopt the (mobile) internet and sustain their usage. This involves participant observations, semi-structured interviews and social media analysis of their digital engagements. A decade of fieldwork has led me to argue for the critical and undervalued role of play and leisure in technological adoption and usage, especially among marginalized populations. This effort helps to shape new frameworks beyond the utility-driven approach on digital privacy, gig labour, informal learning, and technology innovation from below.

3) Data Governance, Privacy and the Global South: With the growing datafication of Global South citizens and the potential for new forms of civic participation, as well as surveillance and violations of the citizen rights, I have been publishing ways in which we can intersect culture and data, without being data-centric. I have called for a decolonizing of privacy studies as we approach 'datafied' societies outside the West.

Journals, Chapters & Editorials (52)

Data Governance & Privacy in the Global South (12)

12. Arora,P., & König. R. (revise & resubmit). Imagining the diversity algorithm: Approaches to computational injustice and their challenges. Big Data & Society [open access]

11. Arora, P. (forth). GDPR - a global standard? Privacy futures, digital activism and surveillance cultures in the Global South. Surveillance & Society [open access]

10. Arora, P. (2019). Benign dataveillance? Examining novel data-driven governance systems in India and China. In P. Arora and S. Hallam (eds) Special Issue: Data-Driven Models Of Governance Across Borders: datafication from the local to the global, First Monday [open access]

9. Arora, P. & Hallam, S. (Eds.) (2019). Introduction to Special Issue:Data-Driven Models Of Governance Across Borders: datafication from the local to the global , First Monday [open access]

8. Arora, P. (2019). Politics of algorithms, Indian citizenship and the colonial legacy, In A. Punathambekar & S. Mohan (eds) Digital South Asia. University of Michigan Press. [download PDF of draft]

7. Arora, P. (2018). Decolonizing privacy studies. In Milan, S., & Treré, E. (Eds) Special Issue Big Data from the South: Beyond Data Universalism, Television and New Media (download PDF)

6. Arora, P. (2018). Revival of the colonial project in the datafied society. Internet beyond global networks blog.

5. Thompson, H. L., & Arora, P. (2018). Crowdsourcing as a platform for digital labor unions, International Journal of Communication [open access]

4. Arora, P., & Scheiber, L. (2017). Slumdog romance: Facebook love and digital privacy at the margins, Media, Culture & Society [open access]

3. Arora, P. (2016). Bottom of the data pyramid: Big data and the global South, International Journal of Communication [open access]

2. Arora, P. (2015). Bottom of the data pyramid: Big data and the global South, Discover Society [open access]

1. Arora, P. (2015). Facebook and the digital romance economy: Courtship, scams, and internet regulation in the global South, London School of Economics Impact blog [open access]


Digital Cultures and ICTs for Social Change (15)

15. Arora. P. (2019). Leisure platforms, politics and people: In M. Doueihi (Ed) Digital Cultures, Hermann. [download PDF of draft]

14. Arora, P. (2019). Border-making and the Oromo movement using social media. In K. Smets, K. Leurs, M. Georgiou, S. Witteborn and R. Gajjala (Eds), Handbook of Media and Migration, Sage. [download PDF of draft]

13. Arora, P. (2015). What is the role of social media in the Oromo social movement? OPride magazine [open access]

12. Rangaswamy, N., & Arora, P. (2015). The Mobile Internet in the Wild and Every Day: Digital Leisure in the Slums of Urban India. International Journal of Cultural Studies [download PDF]

11. Arora, P., & Rangaswamy, N. (2015a). Digital romance and the Indian city. The City & South Asia, Harvard South Asia Institute. [open access]

10. Arora. P. & Rangaswamy, N. (Guest Editors). (2014). Special Issue: ICTs for Leisure in Development: A case for Motivation, Exploration and Play. Information Technologies & International Development  [open access]

9. Arora, P., & Rangaswamy, N. (2013). Digital leisure for development: Rethinking new media practices from the global south. Media Culture & Society   [download PDF]

8. Arora. P. (2012): The folksong jukebox: Singing along for social change in rural India. Asian Journal of Communication [download PDF]

7. Arora, P. (2012): Your kool-aid is not my kool-aid: Ideologies on Microfinance within an INGO Culture, Development in Practice [download PDF]

6. Arora, P. (2012): Is the doctor on? In Search for Users of Rural Medical Diagnostic Software in Central Himalayas,Development in Practice  [download PDF]

5. Arora, P.  (2012). Leisure divide: Can the Third World come out to play? Information Development [download PDF]

4. Arora, P. (2010). Digital Gods: The making of a medical fact for rural diagnostic software The Information Society [download PDF]

3. Arora. P. (2008). Instant messaging Shiva, flying taxis, Bil Klinton and more: Children’s narratives from rural India.International Journal of Cultural Studies [download PDF]

2. Arora, P. (2006). Karaoke for social and cultural change, Information, Communication & Ethics in Society Journal [download PDF]

1. Arora, P. (2006). The poor don’t need another prophet: A people-centered approach to microfinance & education in Bolivia, Society of International Education, 4, Teachers College Press. [download PDF]


Digital cultures, Cultural Industries and Globalization (6)

6. Mühlbach, S., & Arora, P. (in review). Behind the Music: How Labour changed for Musicians through the Subscription Economy. Special issue The Platformization of Cultural Production, Social Media + Society. [open access]

5. Gladysheva, D., Verboom, J., & Arora, P. (2014). The Art Tube: Strategies, perceptions and outcomes of museums’ online video portals. Digital Culture & Education  [open access]

4. Sedeke, K., & Arora, P. (2013). Top ranking fashion blogs and their role in the current fashion industry,First Monday  [open access]

3. Verboom, J., & Arora, P. (2013a). Museum 2.0: A study into the culture of expertise within the museum blogosphere. First Monday  [open access]

2. Arora, P., & Vermeylen, F. (2013b). The end of the art connoisseur? Experts and knowledge production in the visual arts in the digital age. Information, Communication & Society  [download PDF]

1. Arora, P., & Vermeylen, F. (2013c).  Digitization of Art markets .In Christian Handke & Ruth Towse (Eds.),'Handbook of the Digital Creative Economy'. Edward Elgar Publishing [download PDF]


Digital literacies & Technologies for Informal Learning (11)

11. Arora, P. (2016). Prizes for innovation: Impact analysis in the ICTs for Education sector, UN Report [download PDF]

10. Arora, P., & Itu, S. (2012). Arm chair activism: Serious games usage by INGOs for educational change.International Journal of Game-Based Learning  [download PDF]

9. Arora, P. & Matthew Kam from Carnegie Mellon. (Guest Editors). (2011). Special Issue theme: New Media, Informal Learning, and Social Change, Global Media Journal [open access]

8. Arora. P. (2010). Hope-in-the-Wall? A promise of free learning, British Journal of Educational Technology. [download PDF]

7. Arora, P & Mitra, S. (2010a). Afterthoughts: Dialogue between Sugata Mitra and Payal Arora, British Journal of Educational Technology  [download PDF]

6. Arora, P. (2010b). Copycats of the Central Himalayas. Learning in the age of information. In Stewart Marshall & Wanjira Kinuthia (Eds.), Cases'n'Places: Global cases in educational technology. Information Age Publications. [download PDF]

5. Kaun, K., & Arora, P. (2010c). Global Education Greenhouse: Constructing and Organizing Online Global Knowledge. In Siran Mukerji & Purnendu Tripathi (Eds.), Cases in technological adaptability and transnational learning: Issues and challenges.( IGI Global Publications) [download PDF]

4. Arora, P. (2008a). Evaluating online dialogue on 'security,' Electronic Journal of e-Learning  [open access]

3. Arora, P. (2008). Perspectives of schooling through karaoke: A metaphorical analysis. Education Philosophy and Theory Journal [download PDF]

2. Arora, P . (2007). The ICT Laboratory: An analysis of computers in schools in rural India, Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education Journal  [download PDF]

1. Arora, P. (2005). Profiting from empowerment? Critique on dissemination avenues of educational technology content within an emerging market. International Journal of Education & Development using ICT, 1(4)  [open access]


Geographies of the Internet (7)

7. Arora, P. (2019). Re-imagining Digital Leisure Networks through Global Cities: A Metaphorical Journey LOGOS: A Philosophical and Literary Journal [translated into Russian]

6. Arora, P. (2015b). The Leisure Factory: Production in the Digital Age, LOGOS: A Philosophical and Literary Journal, 25(3), 105-115. [translated into Russian]

5. Arora. P. (2015).Web 2.0 (and Beyond). In Peng Hwa Ang, Robin Mansell (Eds) The International Encyclopedia of digital communication and society. Encyclopedia of Communication Series. Wiley-Blackwell. [download PDF]

4. Arora, P. (2014). Usurping Public Leisure Space for Protest: Social activism in the digital and material commons .Space and Culture  [download PDF]

3. Arora, P. (2012)Typology of Web 2.0 spheres: Understanding the cultural dimensions of social media spaces.Current Sociology  [download PDF]

2. Arora. P. (2011). Online social sites as virtual parks: An investigation into leisure online and offline. The Information Society. [download PDF]

1. Arora, P., & Panikkar, A.. (2010). The Ramadan controversy: Dilemmas in negotiating Media Discourses post Iranian Uprising. In Yahya R. Kamalipour (Ed.), Media, Power, and Politics in the Digital Age: The 2009 Presidential Election Uprising in Iran. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. (download PDF)



Magazine Articles

(2004). Private property. Haight Ashbury Journal, 1(1), 17-21.

(2003). Train-tracks. Diversity and Distinction Magazine. Harvard University Student Press.

(2003). Belize. Gamut Magazine. Harvard University Student Press.

(2003). Old Tune. Gamut Magazine. Harvard University Student Press.


(2001)Sales Training Manual for Junior Consultants. Chalk & Vermilion Publishing.

(1994) Kerala Poetry