This panel will focus on how digital imaginaries and technology are transforming the relationship between the state, corporations, technology and citizens, and the implications for democracy and development.
Utopian expectations that digital technology would deepen democratic life have long since been defied, from the Cambridge Analytica facilitated-election campaigns to the everyday uptake of WhatsApp for the circulation of extreme speech. Yet, the use of digital technology now increasingly impacts practices of the state across the world. Against this backdrop, this panel seeks to interrogate how digital imaginaries are transforming relationships between the state-corporate-digital-citizens and the implications for citizenship, governance and development. The panel will host research and practice related to 'the digital' in the broadest sense and contribute to discussions on, but not limited to: i) the role of DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURE in building 'smart cities', 'broadband highways', as well as the growth of a digital payments ecosystem and evolution of the biometric identity programmes; ii) how digital labour PLATFORMS AND PRACTICES are (re)shaping experiences of work and social relations; iii) modes of DIGITAL CONTENT and how the production, circulation and consumption of social media (re)produces and resists everyday life and politics; and iv) DIGITAL METHODOLOGIES which raise old and new questions concerning research practice and ethics. The panel seeks to challenge existing and apolitical conceptions of digital technology as a technocratic fix for poverty and raise critical questions about digital politics and the politics of the digital.