Michael Barrett, Sundeep Sahay and Geoff Walsham
In this paper, we examine an in-depth case of the introduction of geographical information systems (GIS) in the Indian forestry sector and associated social transformations. Our study is informed by Giddens recent theoretical developments on globalizing influences at the institutional level and their inter-connectedness to new trust systems and self-identity at the individual level. We examine how some elements of our case analysis are illuminated by Giddens' theoretical concepts, and also highlight some potential areas for further theoretical development. In particular, our case suggests that there are ongoing processes of stability as well as reflexivity, and we also develop the concept of trust systems to support interactions with new groups of people. Finally, our analysis notes some limitations of Giddens ideas, especially the somewhat homogenous form of his theory in suggesting the nature of social transformations in current times. Instead, the case emphasizes the need to examine more closely cultural and other socio-cultural characteristics in particular contexts, and how they play out with global influences.