Channaka Jayasinghe

Circuits of Semiconductors and Affiliation: a Shallow Dive into the Small-Scale Mobile Phone Repair Sector

In Sri Lanka, the way telecommunication technologies have embedded themselves into people’s lives cannot be ignored. Over the past two decades, mobile telephone voice subscriptions have gradually increased. Furthermore, at the end of 2021, the total cellular mobile telephone subscriptions were 135% of the population. These facts and figures describe the public’s need for mobile phone connectivity services in order to connect to people and things. However, within this sector, the roles played by states and larger enterprises tend to overshadow the ancillary roles played by people organised at smaller scales.

Valuing the Catch of the Day: Towards a more Humanised Food Value Chain

Even with limited understanding about how exactly they function, it is hard to not appreciate the capacity of markets to coordinate the movement of seafood from our oceans to our plates using the price mechanism and relationships. However, exploring upstream of the fish supply chains, does beg the question about what “relevant information” is lost when the value of fish is determined by the price mechanism. The distress of fishermen who are finding it increasingly harder afford their traditional livelihood, the plight of vendors of small fish markets where prices of fish are beyond the spending capacity of the immediate community, the loss of livelihoods of the most vulnerable of us who provide their labour at fish landing sites, and the impacts on marine life as fishermen may be forced to maximise catch to make each trip to sea economically efficient: How well does information about these aspects travel with price information? Or is this information not relevant?

Chasing Efficiency While Leaving the Vulnerable to Their Own Devices

Interventions to support people and communities who lack access to infrastructure need to consider solutions that stem from the question “what do their (collective or individual) capacities allow” rather than “what should they do”. When comparing the urban environment within high-rise apartments and tenement gardens such as Seevalipura, it is apparent that the urban environment people live in and their relationships with structures of power such as state institutions also have a bearing on their capacities to access infrastructure. Therefore, solving issues related to people’s capacities to access infrastructure requires a more grounded approach which is sensitive to understanding the variety of contexts in which people live, and not only counting and accounting revenue generated, costs incurred, and average monthly incomes.