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Interrogating data justice on Hyderabad’s urban frontier: information politics and the internal differentiation of vulnerable communities

Abstract : How does data visibility affect vulnerable communities that face uncertainty over land tenure? Can data justice be realised in settings of acute resource injustice? These are the overarching questions that our case study interrogates by opening up the black box of the community in the volatile and fast-transforming peri-urban fringe of Hyderabad, India. We examine the unfolding of data and information processes through the lens of enumeration and community mapping exercises conducted in a low-income neighbourhood. We argue that the realisation of data justice is mediated by ‘information politics’, i.e., the ways in which informational resources, as well as the risks and rewards associated with them, are distributed across individual actors and identity groups within the community. The democratising potential of emerging digital technologies is severely constrained by structural inequities across gender, caste, class, and even linguistic lines. Our case study underlines the importance of such a structural understanding of data justice and also suggests directions for embedding justice in data processes. Our findings reveal an arena of stark informational disparities between vulnerable, indigent populations and the increasingly sophisticated digital data apparatuses used to encode them. Efforts to promote data justice must take explicit cognisance of these disparities and fragmentation and recognise the internal structural differentiation of vulnerable communities. We argue for an explicit mapping of the information flows and associated information politics that characterise such settings.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-03081478
Contributor : Loraine Kennedy <>
Submitted on : Friday, December 18, 2020 - 10:52:26 AM
Last modification on : Sunday, December 20, 2020 - 3:25:54 AM

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Loraine Kennedy, Ashima Sood, Debdatta Chakraborty, Ram Mohan Chitta. Interrogating data justice on Hyderabad’s urban frontier: information politics and the internal differentiation of vulnerable communities. Information, Communication and Society, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2020, pp.1-20. ⟨10.1080/1369118X.2020.1851388⟩. ⟨halshs-03081478⟩

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