This is an overview of Professor Dutta’s current and ongoing projects. Whereas the conceptual foundations of these projects have been established in his earlier scholarship, they demonstrate ways of building this scholarship through collaborative research and through the creation of additional networks of solidarity. Please contact Professor Dutta directly if you have any questions about his current projects. Also, for additional reading about these lines of work, please refer to the books and articles section.
Current research on the culture-centered approach explores the relationship between culture and structure in the realm of health experiences of individuals and communities that exist at the margins of the healthcare system. Individual projects conducted under the umbrella of the culture-centered approach participate in dialogues with members of marginalized communities, and centralize the voices of cultural participants in the articulations of health care problems and solutions. This line of research also provides a critical lens for interrogating the top-down approaches to health communication that undermine the participation of subaltern groups in the realms of health care policies and project implementations that affect their lives. It is on the foundations of this de-centering that the culture-centered approach creates openings for listening to subaltern epistemologies and ontologies narrated through the participation of local communities. The journeys of solidarity in culture-centered projects articulate the local stories at global sites, forever rendering impure the West-centric theories of culture that inundate modernization and development projects. Ultimately, culture-centered projects foreground local community capacities in owning projects of structural transformation and in creating entry points for change through their ownership of the change processes. In the ethnography with Bangladeshi migrant workers in Singapore, Dutta’s work focuses on creating entry points for listening to the stories of the migrant workers. In the $1.5 million project funded by AHRQ, he utilizes the culture-centered approach to develop community-specific resources directed at addressing the risks of heart disease faced by African Americans through locally situated projects owned by the African American communities in the Lake and Marion counties of Indiana.
Communication Technologies and Health Disparities
What is the link between the distribution of communication technologies in society and the health disparities that exist among the various social groups? This line of work explores the intersections between the research areas of digital divide and health disparities, suggesting that the distribution of health disparities mirror the distribution of communication technologies. It suggests mechanisms through which communicative inaccess influences health outcomes. The critical interrogation of structural disparities in the distribution of technological platforms and resources opens up the space for developing participatory communication processes in solidarity with local communities that are directed at challenging the inequities in the distribution of technological resources. Technology-based structural capacity building becomes a core element in addressing structural inequities through the creation of culture-centered spaces of social change and structural transformation. Professor Dutta has received numerous awards for the work on technology, social capital, and social change.