Technologies, bodies and identities on the move: migration in the modern electronic technoscape
Karen Fog Olwig (University of Copenhagen)
Heather Horst (The University of Sydney)
Karen Fog Olwig and Heather Horst
Vered Amit (Concordia University)
Start time:
20 July, 2016 at 14:30 (UTC+0)
Session slots:

Short abstract:

Since Appadural coined the term "technoscape" electronic technologies of communication and information have developed at a rapid pace. The panel examines how this complex technoscape of cell phones, social media, GPS-systems and biometric technologies shapes and is shaped by human movement.

Long abstract:

Since Arjun Appadural in Modernity at Large (1996) suggested the term "technoscape" to point to the impact of modern technology on cultural interactions and exchanges on a global scale, new electronic technologies of communication and information have been developed at a rapid pace. These technologies have a profound, but contradictory influence on voluntary and forced migration. On the one hand, cell phones, social media and GPS-systems enable individuals and families to orient themselves and communicate across vast distances and thus to acquire the information necessary to travel in foreign territory and maintain social relations with dispersed friends and family; on the other hand, biometric technologies are increasingly being developed in order to enable the identification and registration of individuals and groups, with a view to monitor and control their movements. This panel invites theoretical and ethnographic papers that discuss how this increasingly complex electronic technoscape shapes and is shaped by human movement. Key questions include:

• What sort of knowledge of people, paths and places is generated by electronic technologies and how do they open up for certain kinds of movement and hinder others?

• What kind of local and long-distance social relations do electronic technologies enable and sustain, and how do such relations inversely shape electronic technologies?

• How are new technologies developed, put into use and interpreted in the cross-field between politics, national and commercial interests, border patrol practices and mobile lives?

• How do these technologies shape ways of thinking and practicing bodies, identities and local lives?