The potential of the logistical gaze in respect to migration
In recent years logistics has become an important keyword in critical globalization studies. Even beyond its technical aspects logistics provides an effective angle on the deep transformations in the mobility of commodities, capitals, and labor that shape our everyday life. In the lecture we will present the results of a first investigation of the potential of the “logistical gaze” with respect to migration.

This appears to us particularly important in the current European predicament regarding refugees, migration, and borders. After an introductory discussion of the concept of logistics and a short review of critical approaches to the topic we will focus specifically on three questions: on the infrastructural reorganization and logistical reorientation of the European border regime in the framework of the current “crisis”; on the growing mediation of border crossing and labor migration through the action of a panoply of heterogeneous actors as well on the shifting “rationality” of this mediation; on the self-organized migrant logistics.

Manuela Bojadžijev teaches Globalised Cultures at Leuphana University Lüneburg and is a founding member of the Berlin Institute for Integration and Migration Research (BIM) at the Humboldt University of Berlin. She has organized a series of summer universities since 2013 that are exploring the relations between the ongoing financial and debt crisis with issues of migration and borders – of which “Inves- tigating Logistics” is the most recent. Current research projects include “Racism and Desolidarisation” as well as “Politics and Infrastructures of the Procurement of Mobile Labour” in collaboration with Leuphana University and BIM. Her work has focused on the historical and current conjunctures of racism, the transformation of the European migration regime, financialisation and urban protest, and more recently on the relation between logistics and migration.

Sandro Mezzadra teaches political theory at the University of Bologna and is adjunct fellow at the Institute for Culture and Society of the University of Western Sydney. He is currently visiting research fellow at the Humboldt University, Berlin (BIM – Berliner Institut für empirische Migrations- und Integrationsforschung). In the last decade his work has particularly centered on the relations between globalization, migration and political processes as well as on postcolonial theory and criticism. He is an active participant in the ‘post-workerist’ debates and one of the founders of the website Euronomade (

Sina Arnold is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Berlin Institute for Integration and Migration Research (BIM) at Humboldt University (Berlin). In the past, her work has focused on antisemitism, the comparative study of prejudice (particularly in postmigrant societies), on contemporary national identities as well as on social movements. She is interested in understanding changes in contemporary capitalism through the lens of logistics, as well as logistics’ linkages to current migration and labour regimes and possibilities for resistance. Together with Manuela Bojadzijev, she has taught a year-long research-based seminar on “Migration and Logistics”, focusing on issues such as refugee housing, shared economies, freelance labour and subjectiviation; and applying global anthropological approaches to studying local phenomena. Her current research focuses on the role of smartphones for newly-arrived Syrian, Iraqi and Afghani refugees as a tool of self-empowerment during the process of migration as well as after arriving in Berlin. Sina has been a part of the KOSMOS summer school process since 2014.

“Without it, you will die”: Smartphones and Refugees’ digital self-­organization
‘The phone is the only way to come here. (…) 99 percent you have to have a phone, and internet. Without it? You’re lost, you will die!’ (Syrian interview partner, 24 years)

In 2015, more than one million refugees came to Germany. Along with their histories and dreams, almost all of them took one item with them: a smartphone. This has become indispensible before, during and after processes of forced migration. Our ethnographic study is based on qualitative interviews with refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan living in Berlin, as well as an additional quantiative suvey. First findings show that smartphones are digital tools which enable migrants’ self-­organization and increased autonomy in a two-­fold way: During the process of migration they allow information seeking about the country/-ies of origin and arrival; they help in navigating specific routes, thereby avoiding dangers including police, border patrols and robbers; they aid in staying in touch not only with friends and families but with other migrants, creating “digital travel mates”; they can be a life saver through the emergency call function, e.g. at sea; and they provide autonomy from smugglers through creating a system of control vis-­à-­vis their prices and services on the one hand, and through being able to navigate land routes without them on the other.

These functions of self-‐organization and increased autonomy continue secondly after arrival: Smartphones enable learning a language; communicating with the help of GoogleTranslate; staying in touch with friends and family; organizing with other migrants against police and bureaucracy; they help in finding new ways of navigating the city and in return shape and alter (urban) space through specific migrant cartographies. However, the state of being “a connected migrant” (Diminescu 2013) also has downsides to it: If life without a phone is “like walking in the desert without water” (Syrian interview partner, 25, male), then “information precarity” (Wall/Campbell/Janek 2015) as well as forms of “digital deportability” (Kuster/Tsianos 2013) become imminent threats.

Serhat Karakayali is currently a Researcher at Berlin Institute for Migration Research, Humboldt University. Prior to that, he was an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Sociology at the University of Halle. He completed his dissertation on the history of illegal immigration in Germany as a scholarship holder of the Heinrich-Böll Foundation. Since 2003, he is one of the founding members of the research group “Transit Migration,” which has been recently turned into the “Research Network for Critical Migration Studies.”

Moritz Altenried’s (Goldsmiths University of London) researches (digital) labour, economic geographies, migration, logistics and infrastructure at Humboldt University Berlin and Goldsmiths, University of London. His PhD project sketches the political economy of the internet with a focus on the transformation of labour in the context of an emerging digital Taylorism across logistical supply-chains, video games, software testing, crowdworking and other sites of digital labour and accumulation.

Manuela Zechner is a researcher, cultural worker and facilitator, currently a postdoctoral fellow at BIM. Her work revolves around migration, micropolitics, self-organisation and care, and mostly departs from social movements. She coordinates the Future Archive, Radical Collective Care Practices Project and Sounds of Movement Radio Show, as well as collaborating in the international working group of Barcelona en Comú.

In this session, Manuela Zechner and Bue Hansen will go through some of their recent work on social reproduction, collective care and municipalism. They will formulate some ideas on to the relation between social movements and institutional politics, as well as on migration and strategies of social reproduction in the everyday.

Scholar Group Berlin
Franziska Baum, Carmen Grimm, Lina Ewert, Laura Lambert, Katharina Mahrt, Felix Marlow, Fabian Stark, Mira Wallis, Patrick DeDauw, Ziga Podgornik-Jakil, Moritz Altenried

Logistics under Construction: Phantasies and Frictions of Mobility in Berlin-Brandenburg
An ‘economic growth engine’ in the ‘centre of Europe’, a ‘playing field for business’, a ‘key mobility hub’ or the ‘powerhouse’ of Brandenburg (1) – these are some of the catchwords which are used to promote the new Berlin-Brandenburg Airport (BER) and the surrounding metropolitan region. Politicians, private investors and lobbyists alike cherish the hope of BER as a giant infrastructure project that will boost economic growth in the region, create tens of thousands new jobs and establish a transport hub with a new “gateway” to Eastern Europe(2). Furthermore, the new airport is supposed to represent a flagship for the united German capital. Born in the 90s, the idea was to be carried out jointly by the federal governments of both, Berlin and Brandenburg, with additional private investment.
However, instead of this logistical fantasy coming true, BER has evolved into one of the biggest nightmares of logistics: it is standing still. While it was originally planned to open in 2011, immense miscalculation, defects of planning, political quarrels, corrupution and citizen’s protests led to repeated delays to date. Yet, BER standing still does produce numbers: It costs approximately 1,4 million Euros per day. These losses have aggravated the debt crisis for Berlin.

The Berlin-Brandenburg region is expected to occupy a leading position as one of the “big 5” logistics locations in Germany, and count among the “champions league” of logistical locations in Europe until 2020 (3). BER is only one site where the production of Berlin as a logistical city is taking place. Another example is the freight village (Güterverkehrszentrum) GVZ Großbeeren. Within regional development plans, this GVZ occupies a core function in creating an intermodal transport hub within transeuropean transport axis as well as an assembly point for the city’s supply with consumer goods. Just as BER and its surrounding facilities such as the fair halls, GVZ Großbeeren is a key site of logistical labour with new forms of mobiltiy, precarity and flexibiltiy. Finally, we want to look at the uneven distribution of (social) mobility, not only at the deportation center of BER but also in its poor neighbouring quarters and the modular housing build for refugees. These sites hint at an aspect of logistics that is often hidden: Logistics seems to be all about movement, but the logistics of reproduction and the reproduction of logistics complicate the phantasy of seamless and unobstructed mobility. These aspects, just as truck drivers waiting for weeks for their next assignment, hint to the fact, that standing still is no exception, but a crucial component of logistical worlds.

Therefore, our research concerns the relation between movement and standstill, mobility and immobility and the frictions and tensions involved in the phantasies and (re-)production of Berlin as a logistical city.

Katharina Mahrt is an advanced M.A. student at the Institut für Europäische Ethnologie at the Humboldt University. Katharina has worked as a student teacher and activist with a particular interest in the digital, new forms and visibilities of work and care. She has conducted research on platform-based cleaning agencies using a camera and producing her first ethnographic movie.

Carmen Grimm is an advanced M.A. student at the Institut für Europäische Ethnologie at the Humboldt University. In her research and field of activism, Carmen is interested in the physicality and bodily effects of ermerging forms of work, and she supports research that intersects with artistic and bodily expressions. She has also explored the logistics of and around the worker’s body within a specific, technologically driven, labour market which is the football transfer market.

Felix Marlow does his M.A. at the Institut für Europäische Ethnologie at the Humboldt University. He also studied architecture and urban planning and has been working on anthropological aspects of housing since. Felix took part in research teams inquiring into the social life of urban buildings, from former squats to refugee shelters.

Mira Wallis is an advanced M.A. student at the Institut für Europäische Ethnologie at the Humboldt University. She currently writes her master thesis on the role of the German customs administration in controlling the minimum wage. In the course of this research, Mira became particularly interested in transformations of statehood as well as the intertwining between labour market regulation and migration control.

Franziska Baum does her M.A. at the Institute of Social Science at the Humboldt University. Prior to her studies she was trained in and worked for several years in the logistics industry. Her research focus has since been the relation of gender and work, returning to the strucutral conditions for women within the logistics industry in her B.A. thesis. During her M.A. she started to broaden this interst to the research of precarity and masculinity, as well as and precarious working conditions within logistics, using gender relations as analytic frame.

Laura Lambert has done her M.A. in Social Sciences at Humboldt University and the New School. She is currently writing her M.A. thesis on the institutional boundaries within university that filter refugees’ societal positioning. Former research has focused on the politics of self-organized refugee or migrant protests, asylum policies, and circular migration.

Fabian Stark is currently wiritng his M.A. thesis on the trade and distribution of used clothes with a particular interest in how used clothing logistics rely on the growing production and changing qualities of a carved (Aihwa Ong) and (neo-)liberalized global clothing production.


Giorgio Grappi is a research fellow at the University of Bologna. His main research areas include logistics, the transformation of the state form and the political dimension of migrant labour. In his understanding, logistics and the politics of corridors have the capacity to produce new political landscapes, cutting across the geopolitical space and the territoriality of the nation-states. He has recently published the book Logistica in Italy (Ediesse, Roma, 2016).

Scholar Group Bologna
Niccolò Cuppini, Maurilio Pirone, Floriano Milesi, Carlotta Benvegnù, Mattia Frapporti

Seeing through logistics: Transformations of migrations, borders, spaces, production and labour.

More and more glaringly, logistics is fulfilling a leading role in the contemporary world, thus it also represents a privileged point of inquiry of the globalized present. We consider logistics not just as a vector that has reshaped work, class composition and the production process as a whole. We rather understand logistics as an important character that has contributed to redefine territories, political organizations, capabilities of border demarcation as well as the idea of mobility itself. This is our starting point for a theoretical framework stressing a common conceptual vocabulary that narrowly intertwines logistics and migrations. Following this idea, we have collected a few seemingly independent junctions, through which we would like to produce a common analytical net allowing us to cohere logistics and migrations in a unique field of tension. More specifically, we would like to present five different angles and fields of investigation: migrations, borders, spaces, production and labor chains. Eventually, we are aiming to catch a plurality of elements that we would like to investigate in their independence as well as in their interconnection using logistics as multifaceted methodological perspective, a seeing through logistics. Arranging our set of categories, we will show a twist that includes all of our research projects, suggesting some elements for the development of a new methodological approach.

#migrations – We will focus on the new devices to govern mobility. Both, semantically and empirically, the ways through which mobility nowadays is conceived, become more and more standardized, regardless if the subjects are people or commodities. From “hubs” to “hotspots”, from “channels” to “fluxes”, there is a deep overlap between the organization of all kinds of movements that we aim to understand. Analyzing the operation of a government-of-mobility device, the Bologna Lab intends to describe logistics as biopolitical device.

#borders – We will examine both, the political and geographical scale, that are constantly redefined by the needs of logistics. European territories are often re-conceptualized in complex and heterogeneous ways: on one hand, we can witness the construction of a “zero-friction” space for commodities, while on the other hand, we observe a systemic construction of barriers to avoid the free movement of people. As a paradigmatic example, the Bologna lab focuses on the process of European integration showing to what extent the “logistics logics” have been a crucial factor for implementing the idea of the new space of the united Europe.

#spaces – our inquiry will focus on the tools of mobility, namely infrastructures (conceived in generic terms). We will investigate the political aspects of these artefacts which are assisting to the change of the morphology of territories with deep implications for the mobility of commodities and people. Put differently, we will try to draw attention to the difference between the “migration infrastructures” and the “commodity infrastructures”. This investigation will be rooted in the Emilia Romagna territory.

#production – We will focus on the “subjects of mobility”. Logistics is deeply linked with these subjects, not only because they are connected by their mobility. Migrants (at least in Italy) are oftentimes used as work-forces in logistics, mostly under exploitative conditions. Which expressions of autonomous subjectivity have risen up recently?

#labour chains – Comparing two case studies (France and Italy), we will analyze the ways in which multinational logistics companies adapt and transform the social context in which they operate. The local, political and social conditions – such as immigration and labour laws – influence the recruitment processes of companies importantly. Focusing on the workforce in two particular nodes, will allow for the analysis to see how differences are managed and how they produce specific subjectivities.

Niccolò Cuppini (University of Bologna) obtained his PhD in Politics, Institutions and History at the University of Bologna on the topic “Genealogy of the globalized city: Political premises of the urbanization of the world”. His research is an attempt to urbanize political thought and to grasp the transformations of the contemporary city within a global perspective. He has also written about the cycle of strikes in the logistics sector in Northern Italy and has been part of the editorial board of the review Scienza&Politica, editing volume 27/2015 entitled “The City: Spaces, Times and Subjects in the Global Transition”.

Seeing through logistics: Logistics as an urban logic
During the 19th century, the main European cities were radically reshaped: it marked the death of the city and the birth of metropolis. Idelfonso Cerdà, who then formed the basis of urbanization theory, elaborated the concept of vialidad (i.e. circulation) as the core vector of these new urban spaces. Urbanization was seen as a project to unify humanity into a single global society interconnected within a global urbe. Characterized by circulation, the city became the locus where to apply a series of transformations driven by infrastructural, social, military and economic reasons. This tangle of different processes is what we call, nowadays, logistics.

Ever since, this logic has expanded well beyond the old urban borders. Some decades ago, Henry Lefebvre wrote about the logistics space as the new general paradigm of space’s production and, in 1989, he talked about the disappearing of the city within a new global transformation. Nowadays, we witness a proliferation of theories that consider this long process as, somehow, accomplished. I intend to elaborate a genealogical critique of these contemporary visions of an urban globe, adopting logistics as an entry point to this discourse.

#metropolis #urbanization #circulation #genealogy #urbs/civitas

Maurilio Pirone graduated in Philosophy at the Roma Tre University and is currently a PhD candidate in Politics, Institutions and History at University of Bologna. His main interests are political sciences, political philosophy and history of political thought.

Devices of migrant logistics
This research focuses on new devices that govern mobility. Both, semantically and empirically, the ways through which mobility nowadays is conceived, become more and more standardized, regardless if the subjects are people or commodities. From “hubs” to “hotspots”, from “channels” to “fluxes”, there is a deep overlap between the organization of all kinds of movements that we aim to understand. Analyzing the operation of a government-of-mobility device, the Bologna Lab intends to describe logistics as biopolitical device. Recent migratory pushes have lead EU and non-EU states to change their control and “welcoming” system; some centers like the Bologna CIE have been transformed from detention into relocation spots. This reflects how the disciplining power is exercised no longer through ban and refusal but through a wide range of bureaucratic and everyday taking-care practices aiming to classify, divide and stratify. Drawing on Marc Augé, we can identify non-places, that are not only neutral, impersonal or undefined but more like suspended places where life is reduced to essentials in a long-term pause. Thus, some logistical operations can be identified as tool for the control and production of migrant subjects.

#migrations #govenamentofmobility #biopolitics #nonplaces #subjectivities

Mattia Frapporti is a PhD candidate in European Contemporary History at the Bologna University. Mattia’s research focuses on the origin of the process of European integration and, more specifically, on Jean Monnet political thought. For a couple of years, this research has been linked to Mattia’s growing interest in logistics.

Seeing through logistics: European integration
At the present time, the European Union as well as many others European territories are constantly redefined by logistical needs. As a consequence, the political and the geographical scales are often re-conceptualized in complex and heterogeneous ways. On the one hand, we can witness the building of a “zero-friction” space for commodities, while on the other hand, we observe a systemic construction of barriers to avoid the free movement of people. Most of these “new areas” are not just conceptual and theoretical, they are rather tangible and rewriting the political geometry of our global present. Indeed, nowadays “Special Economic Zones”, trade corridors, macroregions or sovranational and intranational formations like the European Union are emerging more and more, mostly characterized by functional needs. Thus, new geographical entities to simplify and accelerate the flows of commodities and assets are blooming. As a paradigmatic example, I will focus on the process of European integration. I will try to show to what extent the “logistics logics” have been a crucial factor for implementing the idea of the new space of the united Europe.

#borders #Europe #zones #infrastructures

Carlotta Benvegnù (Università degli Studi di Padova, Université Paris 8 Saint – Denis) is a PhD student in Social Sciences at the University of Padua, working under the supervision of Prof. Devi Sacchetto, in co-tutorship with Cédric Lomba at the University of Paris 8 Saint-Denis. Her main research interests are sociology of work, industrial relations, labour market segmentation and migrations. Her PhD research project compares, based on ethnographic fieldwork, the evolutions of the express delivery industry in France and in Italy.

Labour transformations in the logistics sector in France and in Italy
As a consequence of reorganizing production across national borders, logistical operations have recently gained systemic importance, and transnational 3PL (third party logistics providers) are playing a strategic role in ensuring the smooth functioning of contemporary global supply chains. The sector has evolved into an organized industry of its own, constituted by complex inter-firm networks. In my contribution, I focus on the impact of supply chain integration, and the consequent efforts to increase a faster and smoother movement of goods, on management and recruitment strategies in the parcel delivery and warehouse industry.

As companies are embedded in specific political-economic and social contexts, national and local conditions influence the management, inside and outside the workplace. On the one hand, this determines the shaping of recruitment processes, producing a specific composition of the workforce, as well as specific workplace dynamics of control and workers responses. On the other hand, this also influences the development of logistics systems and infrastructures. Drawing on an ethnographic fieldwork, I compare two case studies (France and Italy), analyzing the ways in which a multinational logistics company adapts to (and transforms) the social context in which it operates.

#labour #infrastructures #warehouse #France #Italy

Floriano Milesi is a PhD candidate in History, Cultures and Civilizations at the University of Bologna, Italy. He examines how new technologies are changing the organization of labour and the concept of ‘human being’. In particular, the thesis looks at the so-called gig-economies from an anthropological point of view.


Ned Rossiter is a Professor of Communication at Western Sydney University and holds a joint position in the Institute for Culture and Society and the School of Humanities and Communication Arts. He is currently a Senior Research Fellow at Leuphana University’s Digital Cultures Resesearch Lab, Lüneburg. Ned is the author of Software, Infrastructure, Labor: A Media Theory of Logistical Nightmares (New York: Routledge, 2016).

Brett Neilson is a member of the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University. He is author, with Sandro Mezzadra, of Border as Method, or, the Multiplication of Labor (Duke University Press, 2013). With Sandro Mezzadra, he recently co-edited an issue of South Atlantic Quarterly entitled ‘Extraction, Logistics, and Finance’. With Ned Rossiter, he has coordinated the projects Transit Labour: Circuits, Regions, Borders ( and Logistical Worlds: Infrastructure, Software, Labour ( With Ned Rossiter and Tanya Notley, he is currently coordinating the project Data Farms; Circuits, Territory, Labour. With Ned Rossiter, Ilias Marmars and Anna Lascari, he is responsible for the conceptualisation of the seriouse game Cargonauts (

Logistics between Political Order and Subjectivity
How does a critical eye on logistics shift debates on the production of political order and subjectivity? This lecture offers an introduction to current critical work on logistics by exploring the conceptual and empirical investigations that have informed the project Logistical Worlds: Infrastructure, Software, Labour. The lecture is organized in four parts. First we outline how the theme of logistics generates a dense political vocabulary that allows analysis of how the global dimension of capital, through its operations, shifts relations on the ground between labour, technology, and territory in combination with circulation and mobility. Second we show how logistics possesses a specific internal logic that reshapes the world of production and interacts with political and economic institutions to remake political spaces. In particular, we address the relation between logistics and the state form, showing how logistics not only transforms the state but also creates forms of territory and territoriality that rival and parallel the forms of political and spatial order established by the state. Third we explore the nexus of logistics and migration, asking both how logistics contributes to migration governance and how migrants themselves create logistical arrangements. We thus show how the political order of logistics is crossed by tensions and conflicts, and how it produces mobility as a field of tension between the requirements of logistical governance and the emergence of different subjectivities. Our contribution will end by discussing the issue of subjectivity, including examples from recent fieldwork conducted for Logistical Worlds in Siliguri, a “floating town” in the north of West Bengal at the crossroads of different logistical corridors, trafficking routes, and territorial conflicts.

Ilia Antenucci is a PhD Candidate at the Institute for Culture and Society researching “Capitalist Accumulation, Neo-Colonialism and Global War: The Role of Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs)”, supervised by Brett Neilson and Jessica Whyte.

Logistics of a Baby Migrant: The Baby Asha Case
In the early months of 2016, the Baby Asha case – the injured five months old child who was moved from the offshore detention centre of Nauru to a hospital in Brisbane, where doctors refused to release her if she was to be sent back to Nauru, and activists mobilised for her all over the country – has inflamed the debate about Australian migration policies and the conditions of refugees.

By analysing the set of decisions, moves and countermoves played by the different actors involved – Asha’s family, the doctors, the activists, the police and private security, and the government – as well as the circulating discourses, I look at the case from the angle of logistics, and seek to show how Asha was significantly a logistical problem. Where to place Asha and her parents – whether in a detention centre, in a hospital, or in community detention – when and how to move them, were indeed the crucial issues on the ground. The position of the family was defined and put into tension by different logistical arrangements. In each of those different places, Asha’s ambiguous status would swing from baby, to refugee, to a cheat against the national authorities. In this perspective, not only does logistics appear as a crucial feature in Australian policies and politics on refugees, it also reshapes some supposedly universal ethical concepts such as childhood, motherhood, and humanitarianism.

#humanitarianism #migration #logisticalnightmare

Cultural anthropologist Tsvetelina Hristova has been part of a few research/activist projects on migration in Bulgaria, including the local No Border group, Transeuropa festival, and co-organising an international workshop on migration in Europe in 2014. Currently, she is a semi-attached member of the social centre Xaspel from Bulgaria and doing a PhD in Sydney on the outsourcing of medical imaging diagnostics in Sydney and Bangalore.

Health as surplus: extracting value through affordable healthcare in Bangalore
The paper focuses on a health insurance scheme for farmers and informal labour in Karnataka, India, in the context of exploring the relations between different types of labour and mobilities in healthcare in Bangalore. In the postcolonial political society (Chatterjee 2004) the farmers are produced as subjects of healthcare through the logic of financial instruments and developmental politics. Here, the (neo)liberal notion of self-care does not feed into the fragmentation of a state-organised welfare system (as in most of the West) but is a way of encroaching new subjects within new modes of generating value for healthcare capital. The focus on surgical interventions in the scheme, which is openly referred to in health tourism marketing discourses of experience and qualification of professional medical labour in India, places the farmers within complex and interdependent relations between different types of labour and value extraction.

#health #welfare #labour

Luke Munn uses the body and code, objects and performances to activate relationships and responses. His projects have been featured in the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art, the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, Fold Gallery London, Causey Contemporary Brooklyn and the Istanbul Contemporary Art Museum, with commissions from Aotearoa Digital Arts, Creative New Zealand and TERMINAL and performances in Paris, Dublin, Chicago, Berlin, Auckland, and New York.

The Logistics of Images
What are the logistics of the image and how do these operations alter its aesthetic? This paper investigates how the mechanisms of movement are written into the image itself as “indexical evidence of its circulation and use” (Hilderbrand, 2009). Drawing on theories of the poor image (Steyerl) and the image-as-machine (Bryant), image logistics transform it from a static depiction to an image-object, a pixel-payload. This object is “compressed, reproduced, ripped, remixed, as well as copied and pasted into other channels of distribution” (Steyerl, 2009). Its yearn for widespread circulation requires compression, codecs which optimize by only transporting the “differences that matter” (Mackenzie, 2010). These operations intervene deeply in representation while striving to maintain the same sensation. Privileging of access opens the door to adaptation, producing infinite versions and undermining any original. Localisation emerges as a legitimate form of adaptation which eases the friction produced in moving images between markets. The paper presents a visual lexicon of these aesthetic mutations. From snapchat to Saddam videos, crap codes to Captain America, the logistics of images reveals a multitude of lively entities which go places and do things.

#representation #digitization #aesthetics #circulation

Dr Liam Magee is a Senior Research Fellow at ICS, and along with Prof Ned Rossiter, co-convenes the Institute’s Digital Life research theme. His doctoral thesis discussed the role of social structures and power relations in the production of the Semantic Web and other knowledge systems. His current work examines the ways software and algorithms are working to program, configure and simulate urban space. He collaborates with several coding communities and NGOs in Australia and Bangladesh on open source software projects.

Collision detection and path-finding: Maps, mobility and algorithms at play in Dhaka’s growth corridors
Collision detection and path-finding algorithms deal with detecting intersections between, and finding optimal paths around, objects in computational space. Such procedures have special relevance in the adaptation of “algorithmic automation” (Terranova 2015) to the field of logistics, including the logistics of human migration. They make possible the estimation and prediction of how objects move across the complex polygonal forms that represent irregular and variegated spatial territories and corridors.

This paper discusses these algorithms in the context of a mapping and app-building NGO project that works with several low income communities in Dhaka. For collision detection, the app component employs the well-known crossing number algorithm (Shimrat 1962) to enable users to navigate different neighbourhoods. While the project has added many buildings and other objects to OpenStreetMaps, the app also depends upon the implementation of A* path-finding algorithms in services such as Graphhopper to optimise routing.

The explicitness of these algorithmic details illuminates how other logistical applications navigate associated problems, and suggests means of critique and appropriation that address what Terranova and others have termed the “political subjectivation” linked to current capitalistic processes of algorithmic automation. The very naming of the problem of “collision detection” offers a vocabulary for considering other collisions that have emerged in this project’s mapping of urban space: the tensions generated by large scale rural migration; the congestion produced by rising car ownership and ageing transport infrastructure; and concerns about the very effects of algorithmic automation in the garment industry on low-wage employment in the city.


Sabrina Apicella is a PhD student in sociology and cultural sciences at Leuphana University Lüneburg. Central issues in her current research and political work are the intersection between retail, e-tail and logistics, (digitized) labor, labor unions and struggles, workers subjectivities, as well as migration, racism and anti-racism. By the example of Amazon distribution centers she investigates workers reasons to (not) participate in strikes. Furthermore she discusses the increasing economical meaning and power of retail/e-tail in Europe.

Nowadays we can witness a reorganization of transportation and retail, however, taking place far away from common logistical delivery companies or classical inner-city warehouses. The online service provider and retailer serves as one example to illustrate this reorganization. My talk will focus on Amazon’s distribution centers to show peculiarities of its organization of inner labor processes “behind the click”. I will point out two tendencies: 1. the expropriation of “classical” salesperson’s autonomy and 2. the partial expropriation of autonomy within the distribution centers due to the organization of labor. This leads to a conclusion that relates to concrete conflicts and ongoing struggles and on a theoretical level to the debate on Digital Taylorism.

Clemens Apprich is teaching at the Institute of Culture and Aesthetics of Digital Media (ICAM) at Leuphana University of Lueneburg where he is part of the digital cultures research lab. His main interest is researching and co-designing digital cultures. He is one of the foun­ders and edi­tors of spheres, an open peer-re­view­ed jour­nal for di­gi­tal cul­tu­res, as well as Kamion, a trans­na­tio­nal jour­nal for po­li­ti­cal theo­ry, ar­tis­tic prac­tices and cri­ti­cal thin­king. He is also a mem­ber of the in­ter­na­tio­nal ad­vi­so­ry board of APRJA, a peer-re­view­ed jour­nal about art and di­gi­tal cul­tu­re. Re­cent­ly, his book “Vernetzt – Zur Entstehung der Netzwerkgesellschaft” was pu­blis­hed.

The aim of Cle­mens Apprich’s post­doc­to­ral re­se­arch is to es­ta­blish “Cri­ti­cal In­fra­struc­tu­res” as an ana­ly­ti­cal con­cept in or­der to un­der­stand cur­rent me­dia prac­tices in their mul­ti­ple and po­li­ti­cal usa­ge of net­work tech­no­lo­gies. In this sen­se, in­fra­struc­tu­res are cri­ti­cal, be­cau­se they are al­ways al­re­a­dy in cri­sis, and the­re­fo­re open to détournements and re­ap­pro­pria­ti­on. At the same time they are cri­ti­cal, be­cau­se they re­veal cri­ti­cal know­ledge and di­ver­si­ty of cul­tu­ral forms. Hence, re­cent de­ba­tes about the com­mons and sha­red re­sour­ces chal­len­ge us to de­ve­lop new con­cepts and un­der­stan­dings of in­fra­struc­tu­res. They con­tain the po­ten­ti­al to fos­ter new forms of co­ope­ra­ti­on and col­la­bo­ra­ti­on, in or­der to enable collec­tive forms of in­di­vi­dua­ti­on that go bey­ond the ho­ri­zon of the in­di­vi­du­al con­su­mer.

Cri­ti­cal In­fra­struc­tu­res, un­ders­tood as collec­tive as­sem­bla­ges of hu­man, so­ci­al and tech­no­lo­gi­cal in­di­vi­du­als, yield new forms of know­ledge about the so­cio-tech­ni­cal ar­chi­tec­tu­res, prac­tices, and pro­ces­ses that un­der­lie on­line pheno­me­na. As can be seen in some of to­day’s most pro­li­fic art and me­dia pro­jects, such as Public Library, unMonastery, MetaReciclagem, al­ter­na­ti­ve in­fra­struc­tu­res are de­emed im­portant if we want to chal­len­ge and trans­form the cur­rent­ly pre­do­mi­nant net­work-mo­del in di­gi­tal me­dia, re­pre­sen­ted by cor­po­ra­te In­ter­net-plat­forms like Ama­zon, Face­book or Goog­le. Cri­ti­cal In­fra­struc­tu­res the­re­fo­re can pro­vi­de stu­dents, de­si­gners, ar­tists, prac­ti­tio­ners, and scho­lars with ide­as as to how we can de­ve­lop a new “ima­gi­na­ry” of di­gi­tal cul­tu­res and its un­der­ly­ing ma­te­ria­li­ties.

#infrastructures #networks #digital #imaginary

Ar­min Be­ver­un­gen works at the Di­gi­tal Cul­tu­res Re­se­arch Lab (DCRL) at Leuphana University Lüneburg, where he is the junior director. He stu­di­ed or­ga­ni­za­ti­on stu­dies and so­cio­lo­gy in Lan­cas­ter and Cam­bridge, be­fo­re com­ple­ting his PhD on the re­cep­ti­on of Mar­xism in the busi­ness school at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Leices­ter in 2010. He has taught and re­se­ar­ched at the Uni­ver­si­ty of the West of Eng­land in Bris­tol, be­fo­re joi­ning the Hybrid Publishing Lab at Leu­pha­na Uni­ver­si­ty. He is in­vol­ved in a long-term pro­ject to en­ga­ge me­dia and or­ga­niza­t­i­on theo­ry and has pu­blis­hed wi­de­ly on the uni­ver­si­ty, fi­nan­cia­li­sa­ti­on, busi­ness ethics, open ac­cess pu­blis­hing and di­gi­tal la­bour, amongst others things. Ar­min has for many ye­ars been in­vol­ved in open ac­cess pu­blis­hing, and is a long­stan­ding mem­ber of the edi­to­ri­al coll­ec­tive of the journal ephemera: theory & politics in organization. With col­le­agues at the Cent­re for Di­gi­tal Cul­tu­res, he has set up the new open ac­cess jour­nal spheres.

Armin has been interested particularly in logistics for a few years now. One focus of his interest is how the discipline and practice of logistics has become dominant in relation to other managerial disciplines and practices, such as leadership or marketing. His research focuses on enterprise research planning (ERP) software as an example of logistical media which enable algorithmic management and involve digital media technologies in the reconfiguration of processes of decision and control in organizations. This also relates to migration insofar as this enables a coordination of labour global, for example through the ‘virtual migration’ (Aneesh) which precisely relies on algorithmic forms of management.
With Flo­ri­an Spren­ger, he is cur­rent­ly edit­ing a the­med is­sue of The Fibreculture Journal on ‘computing the city’, which re­sults from a work­shop in 2014 on the same to­pic and deals among other things with how cities are becoming smart and logistical.


Isabell Lorey is a political theorist at the European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies (eipcp), and editor of transversal texts. She is professor for gender politics at the Institute for Political Science of the University of Kassel. Lorey taught social and cultural sciences, feminist and postcolonial theory at the Humboldt-University in Berlin and the Universities of Vienna and Basel. Her research interests focus on the precarization of labour and life in neoliberalism, social movements, critical theory of democracy and representation, political immunization and the critique of social reproduction. Among her recent books are: Figuren des Immunen (2011), Regierung der Prekären (2012), Kognitiver Kapitalismus (2012), State of Insecurity. Government of the Precarious (2015).>/p>

Kassel Scholar Group:
Hannah Grün, Markus Rhein, Rustam Atayev, Sam Withers, Solomon Berhane

Hannah, Markus, Rustam, Sam and Solomon are M.A. students of “Global Political Economy” at the University of Kassel. Their interest in Logistics, Migration and Commons arose not only from a seminar offered in their program, but is also tightly connected to their political practice. As a diverse group of both academically interested students and political activists, the members are commonly driven by the question: What is this, logistics? How can the understanding of logistics shape our way of gaining knowledge and our political practice in our individual fields?

Resistance and Resonance – Free Radios and Common(s)?
The phenomenon of RADIO is contradictory. Once established as a military instrument of communication, it developed into a powerful tool to distribute ideology. It was privatized and finally became a medium of mass entertainment and consumption, and coming with that, obviously, an opportunity for profit. On the other hand, it was used as a counter-ideological tool. People started to build stations and became broadcasters. Not just in history, but also today, FREE RADIOS evolve around the world and offer counter-information on the mainstream ideas, organize resistance and counter-publicities. However, free radios are frequently attacked by security aw and military observation.

Free radio stations and radio activism move people away from being just passive recipients. Our project is moving in a similar direction… Together with Campus Radio Kassel and Freies Radio Kassel (the local community radio station) we will produce an entire radio show on Investigating Logistics. For that, we have a twofold approach: one theoretical and one practical. We will be theorizing RADIO as counter-logistics and commons, but we will also try to find ways to use RADIO to gather information and distribute it, but also to irritate. Additionally, we propose the following for discussion: Can free and community radios be seen as common(s)? Are they useful tools for subversion, especially in today’s era of digital media like twitter and facebook? What role does it actually play in resistance?


Kena Wani is a PhD candidate in the History Department at Duke University. Her dissertation tracks the arrival of communication satellite technology and the development of the outer space programme in post-independent India. The project intends to shed light upon the relationships between postcolonial state-making practices, transnational expertise and media broadcasting history. On a much broader stroke, her work seeks to examine the entangled histories of commerce, “big science” and technology. While the focus is on mid-century India, the research brings together both the colonial and postcolonial archives into conversation.

Joella Bitter is a PhD candidate in the Department of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. Her dissertation examines the role of aurality and noise in the making and inhabiting of a small, emerging city in Uganda. She has recently embarked on a year of ethnographic fieldwork during which time she will spend her days recording urban soundscapes and apprenticing with city planners, music producers, and mechanics. Her research aims to illuminate how technical-vernacular sound knowledge practices may act as a prism for understanding urban life rhythms and appreciating African cities on their own terms.

Carla Hung is a doctoral candidate in Cultural Anthropology, a graduate certificate student in Women’s Studies, and a research scholar at the Center for European Studies at Duke University. She is currently in the throes of ethnographic field research on the conceptual and functional role of Catholic charity in Italy’s political asylum process. Her work investigates how Catholic charities in the Italian context utilize unique resources (infrastructure in voluntary labor, financial aid partially derived from state taxes through the ‘otto-per-mille’ program, overseas and return missions, etc.) that allow them to respond to mobile populations in ways that sometimes mimic state services, sometimes supplement state resources, and sometimes undermine state policies.

For this summer school, we propose to address the spatial logics of water, roads, and air. Thinking across each of our individual research sites—broadly, sea, city, outerspace—we will explore how infrastructural logistics become enlisted, mobilized, modified, or perceived at these various frontiers of mobility. Our presentation thereby aims to open up discussion about the conditions and constraints by which borders and routes are made through entanglements of topography, atmospherics, and technology. We are especially keen to discuss methodological approaches to studying these operations in the field and archive.


On the basis of an academic and international education in Social Sciences, Political Economics and Urban Studies, and of his participation in the European and Latin American social movements, as well as of his experience in local public policy consulting, Francesco Salvini is currently conducting research for the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation on the reform of public institutions and welfare policies in the aftermath of the financial crisis in south of Europe, with a specific focus on the radical healthcare model of Trieste. Francesco is based in Barcelona, where collaborates with Barcelona en Comú and with Radio Nikosia. In Italy, he also participates in Conferenza Permanente per la Salute Mentale nel Mondo in Trieste, and with the blog Francesco’s research and activism deals with the issue of precarity and public policies in the fields of culture, migrations, health, and urban rights.

Marta Pérez is an independent researcher working on rights and citizenship in a context of “crisis”; mobility, migration and border regimes; processes of public healthcare dismantling and new forms of organizing social protections at the margins of the intersection between classical welfare, bureaucratization and neoliberal practices. Her main schools are, though, the activist spaces in health, mobility, and collective knowledge she participates in Madrid, Spain, and Thessaloniki, Greece. Regarding academia, she is interested in imagining avenues of commoning knowledge production, authorship, and publication.

Is it possible to imagine “welfare” as a distributed dynamic and democratic practice of care and emancipation? Can we socially unlearn both, the neoliberal individualistic and the social democratic prescriptive modes of welfare provision? Can we start to inhabit and institute a difficult, but possible, ecology of care? We deal with these questions in dialogue with the experiences and the voices of social solidarity dynamics in the field of care and health throughout the South of Europe, concretely in Thessaloniki, Trieste and Madrid. At stake is the necessity of a new imagination of welfare through the crisis; or in other words, the possibility of a different practice of care in our everyday life as a gateway of recovery and emancipation, out of the contemporary crisis of Mediterranean Europe.

Bue Rübner Hansen is a postdoctoral fellow based between Aarhus and Barcelona, researching the emergence of ideas of the good life in common, particularly in relation to questions of migration and economic crisis. He is an editor of Viewpoint Magazine, a co-author of the report “Construyendo Rutas Seguras” for the city council of Barcelona, a participant in the international workgroup of Barcelona en Comú and he co-runs the Sounds of Movement Radio show as well as Radical Practices of Collective Care project with Manuela Zechner.

In this session, Manuela Zechner and Bue Hansen will go through some of their recent work on social reproduction, collective care and municipalism. They will formulate some ideas on to the relation between social movements and institutional politics, as well as on migration and strategies of social reproduction in the everyday.

Pablo Sánchez Centellas. Born in Barcelona in 1978, he studied political science at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Sussex University and the Université Libre de Bruxelles. He has been deeply involved in the field of international cooperation and solidarity with countries in Latin America and has participated in several campaigns for human rights and in defence of democracy. From 2010 until September 2015 he was responsible for campaigns by the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) and co-responsible for the first successful European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), right2water, defending water as a human right. On 17 September 2015, he was appointed Director of International Relations by the Mayor of Barcelona, Ms Ada Colau.


Gerald Raunig is a philosopher; works at the eipcp (European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies, and at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste; cofounder of the multilingual publishing platform transversal texts ( His books have been translated into English, Serbian, Spanish, Slovenian, Russian, Italian, Dutch and Turkish. His most recent publication in English is “DIVIDUUM. Machinic Capitalism and Molecular Revolution”.

“The animal of the molecular revolution will be neither mole nor snake, but a drone-animal-thing that is solid, liquid, and a gas.” As the philosophical, religious, and historical systems that have produced the “individual” (and its counterparts, society and community) over the years continue to break down, the age of “dividuality” is now upon us. Gerald Raunig charts a genealogy of the concept “dividuum” and develops a philosophy of dividuality as a way of addressing contemporary modes of production and forms of life. Through its components of dispersion, subsistence, and similarity, dividuality becomes a hidden principle of obedience and conformity, but it also brings with it the potential to realize disobedience and noncompliant con/dividualities.

Raunig’s bad news is that dividuality is responsible for much of the intensified exploitation and subservience in contemporary machinic capitalism. Algorithms, derivatives, big data, and social media technology all contribute to the rampant expansion of divisive management strategies and desires for self-division. The good news, however, is that this same terrain of dividuality and subsistential division presents an opportunity for a new kind of resistance, one that can be realized in the form of con/division.

Nikolas Schall is a PhD Candidate at the University of Trief, working on the subject of “Cosmopolitan Solidarity in Transnational Activist Networks – An Ethnography of the Production of Global Relations”. He has studied and worked at the Humboldt University of Berlin.

Cosmopolitan solidarity in transnational activist networks – an ethnography of the production of global relations
My project explores the question of how collaborations or alliances in transnational social movements are produced. More specifically it asks how solidarity becomes possible despite historically constructed particular identities and different positions in the social space. Situated in political anthropological transnational research it focuses on the production of cosmopolitan solidarity. That is solidarity, which is not based on kinship, shared living space or living situations but – following David Featherstone – a “transformative relationship” that constructs relations between places, activists and diverse social groups, and which also exists in unequal relationships and between differently positioned actors. The project focuses on the question of how difference – concerning culture, gender, religion, race etc. – is enacted and mediated in the process of producing solidarity. Following Paul Rabinow’s approach of an “anthropology of the contemporary”, (collaborative) ethnographic methods will be used concentrating on social practices. Following the Science and Technology Studies as well as Practice theory, I understand social practices as always embodied and entangled in the materiality of the world. Therefore, I will combine two different research sites: The World Social Forum as well as a transnational virtual network. Analyzing thereby solidarity produced in face-to-face interactions as well as on alliances mediated by digital virtual tools.

Amir Husak is a filmmaker and Part-time Assistant Professor at the School of Media Studies, The New School in New York. Combining emergent and traditional media, essay and experimental techniques, Husak’s work explores documentary as social practice and investigates digital media representations of history and identity politics. His works have been shown at such diverse places as South by Southwest (US), Sundance Film Festival (US), Sarajevo Film Festival (Bosnia & Herzegovina), Stadtmuseum Graz (Austria), P.O.V./PBS (US), Big Sky Documentary Film Festival (US), TV Cultura (Brazil), and Full Frame Film Festival (US). He is a recipient of both Fulbright and Jack Kent Cooke fellowships.

Whose Screens? Our Screens! Digital Documentary as an Agent of Change
The rise of the so-called interactive, expanded forms of documentary media coincided with the global economic crisis and a number of social and political upheavals of epochal proportions. Employing and scrutinizing the numerical image apparatus, contemporary crises of representation (both symbolic and actual), and veracity issues of the digital vernacular, many recent community-based media projects pose as immediate responses to the un- settling disruptions of present day life. This fresh crop of collaborative documentary media could – arguably – be regarded as a new form of political intervention. Focusing on the social impact of these emergent forms of non-fiction media, and employing practice as research, my work investigates possibilities of civic engagement via digital agency. Drawing primarily on documentary scholarship, ‘new’ media theory and the writings on relational aesthetics, I explore interactive forms of documentary as sites of cultural expression where radical forms of democracy can be exercised.

Éric Fassin is a professor of sociology, Department of Political Science and Department of Gender Studies (Paris-8 University, Vincennes – Saint-Denis) and LEGS research center (CNRS / Paris-8 / Paris-Ouest). He works on contemporary sexual and racial politics in France and the United States, and their intersections (e.g. immigration in Europe). He is frequently involved in French public debates on issues his work addresses. He is the author of books such as Démocratie précaire. Chroniques de la déraison d’État (2012), Roms & Riverains. Une politique municipale de la race (2014), Gauche : l’avenir d’une désillusion (2014), co-author of four volumes on French immigration policies (Cette France-là, 2008-2012), co-editor (with Didier Fassin) of De la question sociale à la question raciale? (2006).

The Road Not Taken: Neoliberalism and Xenophobia
In Europe and beyond, two parallel phenomena have defined the last decades: on the one hand, the advent of neoliberalism; on the other the rise of xenophobia. How are they related? Most would agree that the latter is merely a collateral damage of the former. While many on the left acknowledge that right-wing populism is instrumentalized by neoliberal politicians, as a kind of distraction from other issues, some are ready to concede that working-class cultural insecurity should not be dismissed, thus reinforcing the idea that national sovereignty is necessary to gain popular support in the opposition to neoliberal policies.

The years 2000 have clearly shown that the European Union is equally determined to impose a neoliberal agenda and to keep out not only economic migrants, but also asylum-seekers. Remarkably, this logic extends to EU citizens when it comes to the Roma – a return of race in Europe that can indeed be interpreted as a neoliberal symptom. However, the (so-called) “refugee crisis” has complicated the story: Angela Merkel’s Germany that had just demonstrated against Greece an iron determination to crush any resistance to neoliberal austerity advocated what has been called a Willkommenskultur.

Irony proved tempting for critics of the Chancellor – both right and left. Was not this generosity just the rhetorical justification of a policy that benefited the German labor market? Conversely, once the Cologne attacks led Merkel to renounce her great ambition, it was suggested that her irresponsible optimism had only fueled xenophobia even in her own land, if not caused the Brexit. The closing of the parenthesis has thus reinforced the idea that xenophobia is inevitable, whether to support or to combat neoliberalism.

What if one took seriously what happened for a brief moment in Germany – and now continues in Canada? Openness to refugees can be claimed by neoliberals, as was the case earlier in the early 2000s with Blair and Zapatero. But this is not about immediate economic profit. More importantly, for a while at least, Merkel managed to make Germany desirable – both for foreigners and for Germans themselves. The idea of this paper is not to rehabilitate neoliberals, though. Rather, for the left, the point is to understand how arguments need not oppose interests and ideals, Realpolitik and rights, reason and passion. Otherwise, if we only appeal to generosity, without we are doomed to fail in opposing xenophobia – or, worse, to justify it in our fight against neoliberalism.

Johan Lindquist is Professor of Social Anthropology and Director of the Forum for Asian Studies at Stockholm University in Sweden. He is a member of the editorial committee of Public Culture, has published articles in journals such as  Ethnos, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Public Culture, Pacific Affairs, and International Migration Review, is the co-editor of Figures of Southeast Asian Modernity (University of Hawai’i Press, 2013), the author of The Anxieties of Mobility: Development and Migration in the Indonesian Borderlands (University of Hawai’i Press, 2009), and the director of the documentary film B.A.T.A.M. (Documentary Educational Resources, 2005).  His current book project is entitled Mediating Migration: Brokering Knowledge and Mobility in Indonesia and Beyond.

Brokers, Channels, Infrastructure: Methods for Conceptualizing Transnational Migration
In this talk I describe my research on the migration of low-skilled Indonesian migrants to destinations across Asia and the Middle East on time-limited contracts. Rather than primarily focusing attention on the mobility of migrants, my project has been concerned with the brokers that recruit and transport migrants to employers abroad. In other words, in ethnographic terms the project focuses on what might be termed the middle-space of migration. In this context, brokers become a methodological starting point for conceptualizing migration more broadly. In this talk, I will describe my ongoing struggle to connect ethnographic engagement with conceptual development. In doing so I hope to generate comparative discussion and debate.

Dana Diminescu is Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor in sociology at Télécom ParisTech engineering school where she coordinates the DiasporasLab. At the present she is a visiting researcher at UCLA. She is known for her work on the “connected migrant” and for a number of epistemological and methodological innovations questioning classical theories in migration studies. Her empirical work has covered varied fields ranging from uses of mobile phone and voice IT, Internet, m-transactions by migrants; mobility and mobilisation, integration strategies, cross-bordering, web diasporas, ethnic business, migration lifecycles. In particular, she designed and co-ordinated the e-Diasporas Atlas project, which was first runner up of its category for the 2012 Digital Humanities Awards:

‘migration traceability’ (For a digital theory of migration)
(…) By promoting the accessibility of distant places and remote forms of action, the ICTs do offer unprecedented opportunities to migrant societies but they also involve new unexpected constraints which lead to controversial situations. Monitoring and ‘remote control’ whether it be by the family or operational practices of monitoring by the State or marketing are facilitated and increased by the permanent ‘availability’ and traceability inherent to ITC.

On one hand, we witness overexposure of migrants to duties of solidarity towards distant families; there is also a duty to be present on social networks. On the other hand, we witness an unprecedented level of ‘tracking’ of the flows (of movement of people, information, goods and activities) set up by various official organizations (in the host country but also in the country of origin) and lastly by brands and various marketing platforms.

We only have to make a brief inventory of our means of access (mobile phone, laptop, bank card, transport pass, biometric passport, etc.) to understand the actual networks to which we belong and to understand our daily contribution to the production of a multitude of increasingly complex and infinite digital traces. Migrants or non-migrants, today we all circulate in a digital environment. As we travel, pay, communicate, surf the web, network on different platforms, our personal digital network grows bigger and bigger and speaks about us through the traces that our digital practices leave at every instant, at each step we take in the ITC infrastructures.

These masses of data generated by digital tools often crop up in research and are an increasing challenge to the traditional ‘working’ of the humanities and social sciences, in their methods but also in their categories, paradigms and ethical approaches. How can we make use of this new ‘raw material’ in our research on migrations? What is the best way to organise the articulation of subjects and methodology in this context? How can the new methods imported from the exact sciences (statistical processing, analysis of graphs) be articulated with the qualitative research with which they sometimes conflict? Finally, and more generally speaking, what epistemological concepts can we propose to accompany the development of digitalisation and can we speak of a digital theory of migration?