AJEI’s “India Matters” webinar : 5 janvier 2020

The Association Jeunes Etudes Indiennes (AJEI) is pleased to invite you to the first session of its “India Matters” webinar series on January 5th at 1:00 pm CET/ 5:30 pm IST.

This time, politic scientist Khaliq Parkar will present a paper entitled “The Digital Geography of India’s Smart Cities Mission” :

India’s Smart Cities Mission (SCM) was launched in 2015 as a new centralized urban revival policy. Like similar interventions in the South, the SCM considers digital technology and data as the panacea for the future of urban governance, service delivery, and citizens’ participation through technocratic imaginations and help from private data corporations. The SCM further imagines cities as developing a “data culture”, where it can collect and utilize data for better governance strategies. The technological turn in governance strategies around the world can be understood as a permanent shift, and India is no exception – it has witnessed widespread use of information and communication technologies, globally networked IT firms, and dense mobile phone dissemination. Yet despite some laws, it has never had a cohesive policy related to data and its governance. This presentation attempts to unravel a ‘digital geography’* of the Smart Cities Mission through its data policy, institutions and technocracy under the ‘DataSmart’ strategy. Using an analysis of policy, institutions and data collected under the SCM, I will argue that the DataSmart strategy creates an imagination of ‘datafication’ and an ‘algorithmic turn’ in urban governance. I argue that the process of datafication in urban governance requires a comprehensive scrutiny of policies that shape this digital turn. I further argue that we need to implement frameworks of Data Justice to create democratic paradigms towards data in developing economies to further citizens’ rights in future technological interventions.

*Ash, J., Kitchin, R., & Leszczynski, A. (2018). Introducing Digital Geographies. In Digital Geographies. Sage. 

The session will take place on Zoom, is open to all, and will last about an hour. Please do come for the presentation and participate in the Q&A session. If you wish to attend and have not registered yet, it’s still time to register here. We will send you a Zoom link one day before the session.

Do not forget to block the dates for our next webinars which will take place every first Tuesday of the month at 1:00 pm CET/ 5:30 pm IST :

  • On February 2nd, members of a Franco-Indian research collective will talk about the political, geopolitical and socioeconomic impact of the Covid-19 in India. Stemming from different disciplines, they will sketch research perspectives on the topic.
  • On March 2nd, GIS specialist Alexandre Cebeillac will talk about the issues of collecting and analyzing quantitative data from India. He will draw on his experience with geotagged social media data as well as government databases in a timely contribution as the 16th Indian Census will be taken in 2021.
  • April 6th will call for a debate on the relevance of area studies in Asia with representatives of areal associations. It will include Johan Krieg from the French Academic Network of Asian Studies, Rémi Desmoulière, from the Association française pour la recherche sur l’Asie du Sud-Est (AFRASE), and Yves-Marie Rault Chodankar from the AJEI.
  • On May 4th, socioeconomist Floriane Bolazzi by talking about a classic subject in Indian studies, at least since Louis Dumont — that is social stratification. Drawing on her extensive PhD research on Palanpur (Uttar Pradesh), she will particularly focus on the issue of upward mobility and discuss to what extent the analytical models invented in the global North can also be valid in India.
  • On June 7th, we will eventually listen to sociologist Roland Lardinois. He’s a well-known India scholar and has extensively researched on the history and epistemology of Indian studies. Drawing on his personal experience and work, he will tell us about the structuration of the field in France.

If you use Google Calendar, here is a link you can click on to save the dates.

If you want to be informed about other AJEI events and news, please visit our blog.


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