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The Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement


As emergent technological integration strategies are shaping ways of experiencing cities such as Berlin (with apps designed for refugees and asylum seekers) and New York (with technologies including public wifi and ID cards), it is important to interrogate whether they exclude, adversely include, or empower vulnerable migrants. Such developments hint at an emergent consensus between technology actors and local governments to share in the management of socioeconomic life in the city. As this asymmetrically affects stateless populations, the concept of the “smart city” is no longer sufficient to describe the ways these technologies are used to sort and control migrant bodies. Rather, the implications of this transition of technology actors into an integration industry is better understood through an acknowledgement of a “digital periphery.”

Activists and scholars question whether NYC’s commitment to a “smart city” future is compatible with its Sanctuary City status. In Berlin, a combination of initiatives target refugees for jobs, house-sharing, social credit, and identity management. To what extent are these a reflection of racialized integration and the construction of a particular kind of urban-entrepreneurial refugee prone to precarity? Do they broaden or constrain socioeconomic life?
This talk interrogates these digital boundaries through an account of newcomer and anchor-community experiences, and unpacks the implications of these developments for refugee justice.

Tickets are free but booking is required via the Festival of Ideas website here

Saturday, 19 October, 2019 - 15:00 to 16:30
Event location: 
Alison Richard Building, S2, Sidgwick Site 7 West Road, CB3 9DT