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Accepted Paper:

The Threat of a Pandemic & beyond: Following Aarogya Setu - India's Contact Tracing App  
Gitika Saksena (SOAS University of London)

Paper short abstract:

Taking India's contact tracing app Aarogya Setu as its field, this paper situates the research within Brian Massumi's conceptualization of Ontopower. The paper reflects on the app's materialisation within ever-shifting assemblages of knowledge practices, algorithms, and everyday negotiations.

Paper long abstract:

Aarogya Setu is a contact tracing app, developed and launched by the Government of India on the 2nd of April 2020. It was positioned at the forefront of the country's response to the COVID19 pandemic. Taking Aarogya Setu as the field, this paper situates the research within Brian Massumi's conceptualization of Ontopower (2015). The paper reflects on materialization of Aarogya Setu as a 'system [that is] an actual expression of an operative processual logic, as 'concretized in a historically specific apparatus' (Massumi, 2015, p.232). Subsequently, the incumbent discourses and narratives of the key or first order actors are studied to investigate the underlying knowledge practices that shape the project. I carried out a textual review of public culture artefacts including press releases, policy documents, media interviews, content posted on the app's official social media pages and official responses to app user reviews published on the Google Play store. Furthermore, the research adopted participatory observation in a webinar on Aarogya Setu hosted by an app project team member, as well as semi structured interviews with five respondents from India based in the National Capital Region and from the same socio-economic class, as its methodological praxis.

Panel P18a
Technopolitics, biopolitics and algorithmic governance: Cultures of resistance and countercultures of disbelief during the SARS-CovII pandemic
  Session 1 Tuesday 7 June, 2022, -