Accepted Paper:

Being seen, being counted: social justice implications of inclusion under surveillance  
Shyam Krishna (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Paper short abstract:

By using Indian case study of Aadhaar this paper seeks to understand development under biometric and digital scrutiny by casting surveillance as a necessary part of inclusion and conceptualising inclusion itself as a complex aspect of social justice with cultural, economic and political dimensions.

Paper long abstract:

By studying Aadhaar - India's digital biometric identity program, this paper seeks to understand inclusion as a matter of social justice under surveillance. Using the lens of 'abnormal justice', inclusion is conceptualised as 'parity of participation' - the ability to freely, justly and equitably participate in the society - which rests on underlying entwined dimensions of cultural recognition, economic redistribution and political representation. This is contextualised by engaging with theorisation of surveillance - particularly of 'banopticon' - establishing recognition as the social function of surveillance. As the marginalised population seeking inclusion see their relationship to the state mediated through Aadhaar as the banopticon, this paper seeks to present a means to engage with wider implications using in/justice framing to understand both negative and positive outcomes of surveillance and the complex nature of digital development it promises. Ultimately the paper seeks to contribute justice dimensions as a novel theoretical lens to understand inclusion especially under surveillance dialectically.

The paper undertakes an analysis of the complex rules of digitally enable inclusion presented under Aadhaar's use of 'JAM trinity' (Jan Dhan Yogana, Aadhaar and Mobile trinity). Further using on-going empirical data collection (Jan-Apr 2019) in understanding the mundane practices of banoptic surveillance, the discussion will be focus on welfare-oriented state processes of inclusion to highlight how the state recasts citizenship and welfare under digital technologies. The research subjects for this are traditionally marginalised informal workers commonly finding employment in the South Indian urban setting of Chennai and Bangalore cities.

Panel J1
Digital development