My name is Lucas Watt and I am a PhD student at the school of Media and Communications at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). My current research topic at RMIT is to study how Fijians are using “mobile money” services offered by Vodafone and Digicel. My project title is “The Domestication of Mobile Money in Fiji: An Ethnographic Study”. I decided to start this blog as an outlet for my research with a focus on mobile money and its effect on development in the Pacific. This blog will serve as an outlet for my research.
There is however so much more occurring in the global south concerning currency, technology, and development, that requires commentary. I have expanded my blog to include these stories with particular focus on the Pacific, my area of interest.
Currently recurring articles
The Pacific News Spot – Analyses political, cultural, and social events in The Pacific on a regular basis.
Concept Corner – Takes an academic concept/theory and describes it and analyses it in an accessible, easy to read format for the general audience.
Futures – These articles will analyse new or up-and-coming financial technologies that aim to either improve the financial services of the poor or increase their financial inclusion.
Fieldwork Journal – Describes my experiences and findings during fieldwork in Fiji.
My Previous History: My Master’s Thesis
The title of my thesis is “Socio-technical structures in Andhra Pradesh microfinance”. It involved field research in India. Below is the abstract of my Master’s summary paper.
“This paper focuses upon socio-technical structures of microfinance driven by the implementation of information systems (ISs). Microfinance is the institution of offering of small loans to the poor. It is hailed as a highly successful poverty alleviation strategy as it offers the poor finance otherwise unavailable to them in order to pursue entrepreneurial activities. One of the socio-technical structures emerging is being driven by for-profit Microfinance Organisations (MFOs). This structure governs borrowers and MFO employees to more financially disciplined behaviour. It does this by using ISs to formally regulate the microfinance market. This social structure allows them to continue their commercial objective of extracting profit from borrowers. Despite this, one government based MFO is using ISs to create a completely different social structure that helps borrowers fulfil a wider set of capabilities. This socio-technical structure uses ISs to understand the needs of borrowers. Drawing upon research conducted in Hyderabad, India in 2013, this paper explores how socio-technical structures are created. The paper concludes with a reflection upon the consequences of these emergent socio-technical systems for ICTD practice.”