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Infrastructures of welfare 
Doris Allhutter (Austrian Academy of Sciences)
Karolina Sztandar-Sztanderska (Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences)
Astrid Mager (Austrian Academy of Sciences)
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Doris Allhutter (Austrian Academy of Sciences)
Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

The datafication of public welfare has far reaching implications as regards social inclusion, equality, and democracy. This panel asks how welfare is automated across various domains and how data-based infrastructures in public administration co-emerge with a transformation of the welfare state.

Long Abstract:

In recent years, the welfare sector has been facing increasing demands and shrinking resources across the EU and beyond. Calls to mitigate social hardships more effectively and increase public administration's efficiency suggest introducing data-driven decision-support and enhancement with artificial intelligence. The datafication of core welfare services such as employment services, healthcare and social benefits provision has far reaching implications as regards social inclusion, equality, governance, and democracy. Data-based infrastructures in public administration have a significant impact on the living circumstances of citizens and on human agency. The notion of ‘infrastructures of welfare’ suggests that the implementation of automated systems is closely entangled with a transformation of administrative work practices and of the relationship between citizens and the state.

This panel addresses the digital transformation of public welfare and invites scholars from science and technology studies, critical data studies, political science, sociology, organization studies, administrative science, computer science and beyond for contributions on algorithmic welfare from an interdisciplinary perspective. Contributions may address the following questions and more:

How is welfare automated across Europe and beyond? How is automated decision-making in the public sector co-produced with a transformation of welfare? How do datafication and automation change power relations within the welfare state (e.g., between the public and private sector, between various levels of government)? How do welfare infrastructures and automation affect administrative practices and discretion? How is the relationship between citizens and the state reconstituted with emerging welfare infrastructures? How can the algorithmic governance enacted by welfare infrastructures be theorized?

Accepted papers: