Author(s): Wairokpam Devi & Hemant Kumar
Publication date: forthcoming in 2018
Title: Frugal Innovations and Actor Network Theory: A case of bamboo shoots processing in Manipur, India
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Keywords: bamboo shoots, frugal innovations, Actor-Network theory, India, food processing industry, Manipur
Scarce resources, low-income level of consumers and cultural values drive innovators to resort to low-cost, local-centric idea of frugal innovations both in the formal and informal sectors. Such innovations are the outcome of complex processes and one needs to understand them in their context. We aim to explore the process of frugal innovations in the informal food processing sector of bamboo shoots in the Indian state of Manipur by using Actor–Network Theory. We conducted an ethnographic study and followed the actors engaged in bamboo shoots processing for 4 years. We found that frugal innovations are the outcome of negotiations among diverse actors as they attempt to extend their networks and maintain their complex relation during the process of translation. We also argue that the fundamental premises of ANT such as symmetry and inclusion of non-human actors; will enrich the understanding of frugal innovation processes, especially of the informal sector.