Srinivasan’s research examines the political economy of information-based development initiatives. She uses ethnographic and archival research to examine how ideologically diverse entities deploy information and information technologies toward achieving their varied visions of development in India. At the other end, she studies how the equally heterogeneous targets of these efforts fundamentally shape information use along gender, caste, and class lines. By examining diverse information cultures, and insisting on the role of power relations in shaping them, her goal is to inform technology and policy design that is politically aware and directly speaks to the inequities and heterogeneous information practices within a population.
In her doctoral thesis at the UC Berkeley School of Information, she explores the very different ways in which information was leveraged in campaigns demanding a right to access government records in Rajasthan and in the working of community-based information kiosks in Puducherry. Following her doctoral work, she studied the circulation of price information in fishing markets of Kerala with Jenna Burrell at the UC Berkeley School of Information and Richa Kumar of the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. As a postdoctoral research associate at the Virginia Tech Department of Engineering Education in 2013, she worked with Aditya Johri on the Aadhaar project in India to understand how the state’s information gathering mediates its relationship with the population it governs. In 2014, as a fellow at the Slow Science Institute in Berkeley, she analyzed the trajectory of development thought that has enabled the deployment of information as a development tool in recent years.