Processing Alterity, Enacting Europe

  • Date: –19:30
  • Location: Zoom: https://uu-se.zoom.us/j/62547989960
  • Lecturer: Professor Annalisa Pelizza, University of Twente (Netherlands) and University of Bologna (Italy). Photo: Gijs van Ouwerkerk.
  • Organiser: Uppsala Forum on Democracy, Peace and Justice; Higher Seminar in Philosophy
  • Contact person: Mattias Vesterlund
  • Föreläsning

This lecture draws on a ten-year long research line on the morphology of government institutions and data infrastructures and focuses on the data-aided management of third country nationals to follow the construction of the European order.

We know from historical studies on state building that the modern nation state was born out of information handling processes that involved bureaucrats and replaced nobility. For many years, the nation state has had the monopoly of information processing. Yet with digitization this monopoly has been eroded by multi-level and multi-sector governance processes, to the extent that nowadays states are seen as lagging behind corporate actors in information handling.

Yet nation states still process vast and strategic amounts of data about a key asset: populations. Civil registers are powerful tools for population management, and they are usually held at the local level of nation states. Not all registers are kept at the national level, though. In Europe this is the case of information systems registering third-country nationals. Such systems register border crossers, asylum seekers, irregular migrants, VISA-supported travellers, that is, European alterity. How can we make sense of the changes brought about by digitization to the form of the state, especially towards the construction of a European order, by looking at data infrastructures for population management?

This lecture draws on a ten-year long research line on the morphology of government institutions and data infrastructures and focuses on the data-aided management of third country nationals to follow the construction of the European order. It introduces the concept of “alterity processing” to account for the simultaneous enactment of individual “Others” and emergent European orders in the context of informational migration management. Alterity processing refers to data infrastructures, knowledge practices and bureaucratic procedures through which populations unknown to European actors are translated into “European-legible” identities.

Drawing upon a Science and Technology Studies constructivist perspective, the lecture provides empirical evidence and theoretical reflections on the co-production of migrant people and polities mediated by the digitization of registration and identification. The lecture draws upon data collected in the context of the “Processing Citizenship” project (ERC StG No 714463, http://processingcitizenship.eu).

About the lecturer

Annalisa Pelizza is Professor of Science and Technology Studies at the University of Bologna. Before that, she was Associate Professor at the Science, Technology and Policy Studies department of the University of Twente, where she is now Visiting Professor.

Her research focuses on how governance by data infrastructures shapes modern institutions. By studying how information systems entail broader but unnoticed transformations in the modern order of authority, which are buried in technical minutiae, Prof. Pelizza’s work brings tools proper to STS analyses to investigate macro political developments.

Annalisa Pelizza was the recipient of several excellence scientific grants and currently leads the “Processing Citizenship” research group (http://processingcitizenship.eu), funded by the European Research Council. The team investigates transnational data infrastructures for migration management as activities of European governance transformation. She was visiting professor at the Center for Technology in Society at the Munich Technical University (2016), the Institute for Advanced Studies in Paris (2017), the University of Twente (2019-2022) and is elected member of the Board of the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST), as well as of other committees at the American Society for the Social Study of Science (4S).

Suggested Pre-Readings

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0306312720983932

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0162243919827927

Additional information

Processing Alterity, Enacting Europe