Geomedia Speaker Series - Spatial Justice and Data Justice
Geomedia Speaker Series presents a digital seminar
Spatial Justice and Data Justice
13.00-15.00 local time (Sweden) - (1-3 pm CET)
This seminar explores the ways in which digital technologies and datafication shape and produce new forms of inequalities globally and locally. While much of the research literature discusses datafication in the context of the industrial West, in recent years, more and more focus has been paid to Global South. Perspectives from Global South are also part of a broader attempt to decolonize scholarship on datafication, algorithms, and AI by questioning data universalism. This research has shown the complex ways in which datafication shapes societies and citizenship with a variety of regional and local differences.
While new forms of digital practices are opening up, at the same time, old colonial mindsets continue to maintain power in the operations of technology companies and digital development in the Global South. However, new avenues of resistance, activism, and social change are emerging, not only in the South but also in the North. Community building, empowerment, counter-mapping, and data activism draw on rich traditions of social movements while ideas of data as public good and the ideal of data welfare state seek to imagine alternatives to datafied society. Together these different perspectives envision how we might start to understand the interconnectedness of spatial justice and data justice.
Professor and Chair in Technology, Values, and Global Media Cultures, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Senior Lecturer in Media Ecologies and Social Transformation, Cardiff University
Professor in Media and Communication Studies, Södertörn University
13.00-13.10 Introduction Kaarina Nikunen, Geomedia Guest Professor
13.15-13.45 Payal Arora: Green design and the next billion
13.50-14.20 Emiliano Treré: Cartographies of justice: Counter-mapping resistance amidst the Pandemic
14.20-14.40 Discussion with Anne Kaun
14.40-15.00 Open discussion / Q&A
Questions about the seminar can be sent to the Geomedia Coordinator
Abstracts and bio
Cartographies of justice: Counter-mapping resistance amidst the Pandemic
As a subset of counter-data action, counter-mapping denotes a key form of activists’ engagement with data. It displays how social actors can contest forms of data injustice by creating their own subaltern data mapping arrangements. The COVID-19 pandemic offers an exemplary circumstance for exploring the contested terrain of data mapping. The pandemic battlefield is defined by the contrasting narratives of institutional mapping on one side, and the contentious maps of data activists, social movements, and communities on the other. Relying on two recent projects funded by the SSHRC (Canada), in this talk, I reflect on the paradoxes, imaginaries, and possibilities that characterize the attempts to (counter)map COVID-19, surveying their implications for social, epistemic, and spatial justice.
Emiliano Treré is an Associate Professor in Media Ecologies and Social Transformation in the School of Journalism, Media and Culture (JOMEC) at Cardiff University (UK). Between 2011 and 2016, he was an Associate Professor at the Autonomous University of Querétaro (Mexico) and a Member of the National System of Mexican Researchers (Level 1). Treré has published more than 80 publications in 6 languages in peer-reviewed publications. He is a widely cited author in digital activism, social movement, and critical data studies with a special focus on the Global South. He is the co-director of the Data Justice Lab and the co-founder of the ‘Big Data from the South’ Initiative. His book Hybrid Media Activism (Routledge, 2019) won the Outstanding Book Award of the ICA Interest Group ‘Activism, Communication and Social Justice’.
Green design and the next billion
Data centers have become key contributors to global warming. With the rise of the next billion users, low-income but upwardly mobile populations who are fast coming online in the Global South, there is a question of whether digital inclusion clashes with planetary sustainability. This talk will problematize this line of questioning, rooting it in colonial logics, and contemporary discourses on how such populations are imagined and how design should be re-conceptualized to make these goals compatible.
Payal Arora is a digital anthropologist, a TEDx speaker, and an author of several award-winning books, including ‘The Next Billion Users’ with Harvard Press. Her expertise lies in global media cultures, digital inequality, and inclusive design. Forbes named her the “next billion champion” and the right kind of person to reform tech. She is a Professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam, and Co-Founder of FemLab, a feminist future of work initiative.
Anne Kaun is Professor of Media and Communication Studies at Södertörn University, Stockholm and Wallenberg Academy Fellow 2021. Her research interests include media theory, mediated temporalities, algorithmic culture, automation and artificial intelligence from a humanistic, social science perspective. She is currently working on several comparative projects funded by among others the Swedish Research Council and the Baltic Sea Foundation exploring the implications of the digital welfare state from a citizen perspective.