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Data colonialism : the census, the map, and the software

Title data

Grossi, Tommaso ; Lepratti, Lucilla:
Data colonialism : the census, the map, and the software.
In: From the European South. Vol. 8 (2021) . - pp. 47-61.
ISSN 2531-4130

Official URL: Volltext

Abstract in another language

This paper investigates how colonial logics of population mapping and administration find a continuity with the extraction and use of data in the Global South and its borders to the West. Understanding technologies of colonial management such as cartography and the census as sites of knowledge production, we draw parallels with contemporary, global forms of data-based governance. Rooted in recent theories of ‘data colonialism’, our paper shows how it continues, yet reconfigures, colonial power and objects of knowledge in establishing data-based relations. We develop this case by first discussing the genealogy of data extraction in relation to the organising of bodies and territories in different colonial contexts. One condition of continuity that we present is how European imperial censuses in the nineteenth century and colonial technologies of counting and ordering more broadly, are reshaped and reused in postcolonial contexts. We examine how data colonialism plays out in the Global South, specifically in the advancement of biometrics in postcolonial India. Further, expanding the notion of data colonialism, we look at how European migration management software makes populations on the move governable. In another retooling of the colonial census, the anticipation and management of migrations is enabled through the mapping and archiving of human mobility.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Data colonialism; Census; Map; Biometrics; Empires; Borders
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Cultural Studies > Professor Anthropology of Africa
Faculties > Faculty of Cultural Studies > Professor Anthropology of Africa > Professor Anthropology of Africa - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Andrea Behrends
Faculties > Faculty of Cultural Studies
Result of work at the UBT: No
DDC Subjects: 300 Social sciences
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2022 08:36
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2022 11:07