Publication focus: For over a decade, I have been writing on the potential of entertainment, play, pleasure, and sociality via new media technologies to create critical public spheres for social learning, activism and change, particularly in emerging economies . At this point in time, there is tremendous evidence backing the fact that much of what we do online is leisure-oriented and thereby, by focusing on informal learnings through the leisurely act, we can gain insight into contemporary digital cultures and economies. In other words, to deeply understand concerns on digital politics, free labor, big data, and privacy, as well as opportunities for user engagement, we need to view these enactments as embedded within leisure-centered web architectures. My work spans across a range of global contexts including karaoke for literacy in India, speech recognition software learning among immigrants in the Bronx, gaming and Googling for art in the rural Himalayas to online dating and privacy literacies in the favelas of Brazil. A common theoretical theme is synthesizing the digital and the urban commons to understand the contemporary mediated social life.

Journals, Chapters & Editorials (47)


Big data, Privacy & Digital Economies in the global South (8)

8. Arora, P. (in process). Decolonizing privacy studies. Big Data from the South: Beyond Data Universalism, Special Issue of Television and New Media, Guest editors Milan, S., & Treré, E.

7. Arora, P. & Hallam, S. (Eds.) (in process). Special Issue: Data Driven Models of Governance Across Borders: Assessing Participation, inclusions, and convergence in the digital era, First Monday [open access]

6. Arora, P. (forthcoming). Politics of algorithms, Indian citizenship and the colonial legacy, In A. Punathambekar & S. Mohan (eds) Digital South Asia. University of Michigan Press.

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 Development (16)

16. Arora. P. (forthcoming). Leisure platforms, politics and people: In M. Doueihi (Ed) Digital Cultures, Hermann.

15. Arora, P. (in process). 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.

14. Shihomeka, S., & Arora, P. (revise & resubmit). Old versus new media influences on
politics in rural Namibia. African Journal of Information and Communication [open access]

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 process). 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 & ICTs for Education (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]


Blurring Digital & Social geographies (6)

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