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Seminar series

Digital surveillance, platform power and the politics of asylum

How social media platforms reshape power relations

Add to calendar 2024-02-01 13:30 2024-02-01 15:00 Europe/Rome Digital surveillance, platform power and the politics of asylum Sala Belvedere Villa Schifanoia YYYY-MM-DD


01 February 2024

13:30 - 15:00 CET


Sala Belvedere

Villa Schifanoia

Join Claudia Aradau as she shares part of her current work that cuts across AI/technology and borders/migration
Today, we are faced with the intensification and extensification of surveillance through digital technologies. Surveillance capitalism (Zuboff 2018) is one of the most acclaimed diagnoses of the transformation of surveillance in the digital age. Drawing on a selection of decisions by the Upper Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber decisions in the UK, it is initially argued that critical diagnoses of surveillance capitalism do not account for the experiences of asylum seekers, who have to wrangle with data and the limits of surveillance. Secondly, the concept of platform power it is introduced to account for how digital platforms and their data extractions are mobilised to support or undermine asylum seekers’ rights. The operations of digital platforms make it impossible to clarify which third parties can access data on digital platforms, whether data can be sold further, to whom, and how it can be recombined and reused for the purposes of surveillance. By ‘bringing the outside in and taking the inside out’ (Aradau and Blanke, 2022), platform power undoes the binaries of privacy/publicity, transparency/opacity, openness/secrecy, and monitoring/indifference. Therefore, judicial demands that asylum seekers prove the ‘reasonable likelihood’ of being surveilled are not only intractable but also produce new forms of epistemic violence. 


Alessandra Caldini


Claudia Aradau (King's College London)

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