Academic Profile

Assoc. Prof. Arul Chib is the Department Lead, Strategic Communications and Technology, Principal Investigator on a Ministry of Education Tier II grant, and CoEditor of the Gender, Technology, and Development journal. He has held positions as Director of the Singapore Internet Research Centre (2014-17), Chair of ICTD2015, and Coordinator of the SIRCA programme (2008-17). He investigates emergent information and communication technologies as transformational tools for marginalized populations in resource-constrained environments, with an emphasis on the socio-structural contexts of power within which social change occurs. He has published over 100 research articles and secured external grants over US$5 Mn.

As Director of the Singapore Internet Research Center, Dr. Chib led the SIRCA programme (established 2008) for a decade, mentoring over 40 emerging country researchers in Asia, Africa and Latin America. His research, mentorship and teaching has contributed to the growth of the ICTD field in the Global South, and been recognized, amongst others by the 2011 Scopus Award in Sustainable Development, accompanied by a Humboldt fellowship, a prestigious honor in the European tradition of scholarship. His latest publications are Chib, Bentley & Smith (2021). Critical perspectives on Open Development. Cambridge: MIT Press; Chib, Lin & Nguyen, (2021) Provocation as agentic practice: Gender performativity. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication; and Chib, May & Barrantes (Eds.) (2015)Impact of Information Society Research in the Global South. New York: Springer.

He has been awarded fellowships at Ludwig Maxmilians University, University of Southern California, and the S. I. Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University. He serves on the editorial boards of Human Communication Research, Communication Yearbook, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, and Mobile Media and Communication, and was Senior Editor of The Electronic journal for Information Systems in Developing Countries.

Dr. Chib’s research has been profiled in the international press such as the United Nations Chronicle. He presented keynote speeches at the International Institute of Social Studies, The Netherlands, the Media Health Communication Conference in Munich Germany and Global Fusion Conference at Texas A&M University. He was General Conference Chair for ICTD2015, an ACM Proceedings conference, attended by 250 scholars from 47 countries, and served on organizing committees for IFIP. He has been an expert speaker at events organized by UNESCO and UN-APCICT. Dr. Chib has worked with non-governmental agencies such as INPPARES, Nyaya Health, Text to Change, Udaan, UNICEF and World Vision, and has a track record of external funding with national, such as Ministry of Education (Singapore), IDRC (Canada), EU Connect2SEA and German BMBF (Europe), and transnational donors, such as Red Cross Red Crescent, and UNFPA. He has lived in India, Germany, Peru, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, and the United States of America.
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Assoc Prof Arul Indrasen Chib
Associate Professor, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information

Programmatically, Dr. Chib studies digital media (mobile, online, and social) in two broad contexts, namely healthcare settings of developing countries and transnational migration, tied by an over-arching interest in social justice for the marginalized. In both lines of inquiry, he critically examines identity formation and power negotiation processes, focusing on the intersections of culture, gender, and race. In the mHealth domain, he was at the vanguard of a potentially revolutionary scientific breakthrough, leading the design of a mobile application for rural Indonesian midwives after the 2004 Asian tsunami.

Dr. Chib has conducted mHealth in multiple developing country contexts (China, India, Nepal, Peru, Thailand, Uganda) as well as in amongst vulnerable populations (at-risk adolescents, people with disabilities, diabetes patients, etc.). He has proposed the ICT for Healthcare Development model to account for contextual socio-structural barriers , the Technology-Community-Management model, that incorporates a vulnerabilities approach to social power relations, and the Input-Mechanisms-Output model, a heuristic framework, mapping links between technology introduction, psycho-social mechanisms of adoption, and health impact.

Key Scholarship
Li, Chib, & Lin (2020). The state of wearable health technologies: A transdisciplinary literature review. Mobile Media & Communication
Brew-Sam & Chib (2019). Smart device apps for diabetes self-management correspond with theoretical indicators of empowerment? An analysis of app features. International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care
Chib (2018) Afterword: Reflections on a decade of mHealth innovation in Asia. In Baulch, Watkins & Tariq (Eds), mHealth Innovation in Asia. Dordrecht: Springer
Chib, van Velthoven & Car (2015) A review of mHealth in developing countries. Journal of Health Communication
Chib & Jiang (2014) Mobile phones and the mobility-impaired in Singapore. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication
Chib (2013) The promise and peril of mHealth for developing countries. Mobile Media & Communication
Chib, Wilkin & Hoefman (2013) Vulnerabilities in mHealth implementation: Ugandan HIV/AIDS SMS campaign. Global Health Promotion
Chib, Chia, Ng, & Tran (2013). Enabling informal digital “guanxi” for rural doctors in Shaanxi, China. Chinese Journal of Communication
Chib, Wilkin, Leow, Hoefman & van Bejima (2012) Evaluating the effectiveness of a text message HIV/AIDS campaign in North West Uganda. Journal of Health Communication
Chib, Law, Ahmad & Ismail (2012) Moving mountains with mobiles: Spatio-temporal perspectives on mHealth in Nepal. MedieKultur
Chib & Chen (2011) Midwives with mobiles: A dialectical perspective on gender arising from technology introduction in rural Indonesia. New Media & Society
Lee, Chib & Kim (2011). Midwives’ mobile phone use and health knowledge in rural communities. Journal of Health Communication
Chib (2010) Design and evaluation perspectives using the ICT for healthcare development model. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication

Dr. Chib’s second line of inquiry examines the role of digital media technologies in the polarized global discourse around transnational migration. He studies marginalized migrant communities engaged in a dialectic struggle, seeking social equity while managing personal identities, which manifest in digital practices of resilience and resistance. Emergent communication technologies, however, also subvert the boundaries of restrictive spaces, with social media interventions promoting contact amongst citizens and working class immigrants from developing countries.

The research focus expands to an intersectional approach towards gender as social identity in immigration contexts. He has examined online and mobile identity formation for Filipina domestic workers negotiating transnational motherhood, Vietnamese foreign brides, North Korean defectors and Syrian refugees. Dr. Chib currently leads a transdisciplinary Singaporean Ministry grant examining issues of social cohesion in the contested context of modern immigration trends.

Key Scholarship
Chib, Ang, Zheng, & Nguyen (Forthcoming). The dilemmas of disempowerment in digital practices. New Media and Society.
Chib, Ang, Ibasco, & Nguyen (2021). Mobile media (non-)use as expression of agency. Mass Communication & Society
Pei, Chib, & Ling (2021). Covert resistance beyond #MeToo: Mobile practices of marginalized migrant women to negotiate sexual harassment in the workplace. Information, Communication and Society
Pei, X., & Chib, A. (2020). Beyond the gender (dis)empowerment dichotomy: The mobile phone as social catalyst for gender transformation in the Global South. New Media & Society
Chib, Bentley & Wardoyo (2019). Distributed contexts of digital media and learning: Open practices as a response to marginalization. Comunicar
Chib & Nguyen (2018) Gender Identity as resilience and resistance: Mediated cultural practices of Vietnamese foreign brides in Singapore. International Journal of Communication
Chib, Wardoyo & Lai (2018) Differential OER impacts of formal and informal ICTs. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning
Ale, Loh & Chib (2017) Contextualized-OLPC education project in rural India: Learning impact. Educational Technology Research and Development
Chib & Aricat (2016) Belonging and communicating in a bounded cosmopolitanism: Role of mobile phones in the integration of transnational migrants in Singapore. Information, Communication and Society
Chib, Malik, Aricat & Kadir (2014) Migrant mothering and mobile phones: Negotiations of transnational identity. Mobile Media & Communication
Chib, Wilkin & Mei Hua (2013) Singapore migrants workers' use of mobile phones to seek social support. Information Technologies & International Development
  • Mobile Gamification Strategies To Manage Online Emergence Of Nativism
  • Chib, A., Smith, M. L., & Bentley, C. M. (Eds.) (2021). Critical perspectives on Open Development: Empirical interrogation of theory construction. Cambridge: MIT Press.

  • Chib, A., Lin, D., & Nguyen, H. (2021). Provocation as agentic practice: Gender performativity in online strategies of transgender sex workers. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.

  • Chib, A., Ang, M.W., Zheng, Y., & Nguyen, H. (Forthcoming). The dilemmas of disempowerment in digital practices. New Media and Society.

  • Bentley, C., Chib, A., & Poveda, S. (2019). A critical narratives approach to openness: The impact of open development on structural transformation. Information Systems Journal.

  • Chib, A. & Lin. S. (2018). Theoretical advancements in mHealth: A systematic review of mobile apps. Journal of Health Communication.

  • Chib, A. & Aricat, R. (2016). Belonging and communicating in a bounded cosmopolitanism: The role of mobile phones in the integration of transnational migrants in Singapore. Information, Communication and Society, 1-15. .

  • Chib, A., van Velthoven, M., & Car, J. (2015). mHealth adoption in low-resource environments: A review of the use of mobile healthcare in developing countries. Journal of Health Communication, 20. (1), 4-34.

  • Chib, A., May, J., & Barrantes, R. (Eds.) (2015). Impact of information society research in the Global South. New York: Springer.

  • Chib, A., Malik,S., Aricat, R.G.,& Kadir, S.Z. (2014). Migrant mothering and mobile phones: Negotiations of transnational identity. Mobile Media & Communication, 2. (/1), 73-93.

  • Chib. A. & Chen H-H.V. (2011). Midwives with mobiles: A dialectical perspective on gender arising from technology introduction in rural Indonesia. New Media & Society, 12(3) , 1006-1023.