SEMINAR CANCELLED | Asylum, digital surveillance and platform power
Professor Claudia Aradau (King's College London)
Public Seminar Series
Tuesday, 28 February 2023, 1pm to 2pm
Seminar Room 2, Oxford Department of International Development, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TB
Hosted by Refugee Studies Centre
Unfortunately, due to UCU strike action, this seminar is now cancelled.
RSC Public Seminar Series Hilary Term 2023
'Forced Migration and Digital Technologies: (Dis)continuities in Actors and Power Relations'
Series convenors: Dr Derya Ozkul and Dr Marie Godin
This year the RSC Public Seminar Series will take place through (usually) fortnightly seminars on Tuesday lunchtimes from 1-2pm, but please check the details for each seminar.
About the seminar
In January 2022, the Upper Tribunal in the UK issued a decision on sur place activities by asylum seekers and the status of Facebook material and Facebook surveillance ( UKUT 00023 (IAC)). At stake in the case is the rejected application of an Iranian asylum seeker of Kurdish ethnicity who is appealing a deportation decision to Iran. Mr XX’s case relies on material he had posted on Facebook and the effects that these digital traces have produced might have upon his potential return to Iran. The courts have grappled with questions of digital surveillance and social media platforms for some time in the UK. Yet, understandings of digital surveillance have been so limited that judges often assumed that all that was required was for appellants to delete their social media accounts. This paper develops an analysis of how digital surveillance of asylum seekers is shaped through platform power. How is state surveillance made possible or limited through platform power? What is the reach of digital surveillance in an individual’s life? In combining methods of distant and close reading in an archive of asylum and immigration appeals in the UK, I show how digital surveillance and platform power are transforming asylum decisions. While digital surveillance – paradoxically – enables rights claims, an analysis of platform power sheds light on new risks and constraints that asylum seekers come to face.
About the speaker
Claudia Aradau is Professor of International Politics in the Department of War Studies, King's College London, and Principal Investigator of the Consolidator Grant Security Flows (‘Enacting border security in the digital age: Political worlds of data forms, flows and frictions’), funded by the European Research Council (2019-2024). Her research has explored the implications of security practices globally. As more and more problems and people become constituted as objects and subjects of security, she has inquired into the effects this has for democratic politics and critique. Her current research focuses on how digital technologies reconfigure security and surveillance practices, as well as the relations between security, democracy and critique.