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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 ([2022] 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.

Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture

The Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture is named in honour of Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond, the founding Director of the Refugee Studies Centre. It is held each year in Michaelmas term.

Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture

The Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture is held in Trinity term. It is named after Professor Elizabeth Colson, a renowned anthropologist.

Public Seminar Series

Each term the RSC holds a series of public seminars, held on Wednesday evenings at Queen Elizabeth House. Click here for details of forthcoming seminars.

Connect with us

To keep up to date with our events and activities, sign up for email alerts from the RSC and Forced Migration Review, and connect with us on social media.

Forthcoming events

Digital labour platforms and migration: making of commoditised workers

Tuesday, 07 February 2023, 1pm to 2pm @ Seminar Room 2, Oxford Department of International Development, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TB

The digital border and its techno-symbolic assemblages of power

Tuesday, 21 February 2023, 1pm to 2pm @ Seminar Room 2, Oxford Department of International Development, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TB

Virtual borders: human rights and the fluid subject of algorithmic governance

Thursday, 02 March 2023, 12pm to 1pm @ Seminar Room 2, Oxford Department of International Development, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TB

Palestine Refugees and International Law

Friday, 10 March 2023 to Saturday, 11 March 2023 @ University of Macedonia, Egnatia 156, Thessaloniki 546 36, Greece

CANCELLED - Recognising Refugees | RSC Conference 2023

Monday, 20 March 2023 to Tuesday, 21 March 2023 @ Keble College, Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PG