SEMINAR CANCELLED: Digital Materialities and Global Inequality Introducing a Research Programme on ‘Lifeworlds in Crisis’

CANCELLED: We are sorry to inform you that the seminar is cancelled

Digital Materialities and Global Inequality. Introducing a research program on Lifeworlds in Crisis
Digitalisation is a phenomenon of growing significance everywhere, including on the African continent. At the same time, the lifeworlds of the majority of ordinary Africans are increasingly being confronted by both extreme and chronic crises, such as epidemics, climate change, poverty, displacement, authoritarian rule. In this talk, and based on a new research project she leads, Professor Behrends explores what a focus on the materiality of the digital at different scales can bring to light, specifically as it relates to conditions of crisis.
She asks how this research focus on digital materiality engages with but also challenges existing anthropological work on digitalisation; what new avenues and insights does it encourage. Additionally, she addresses how this research might expose the inequalities that mark relational infrastructures, and their patterns of visibility and invisibility, particularly in non-Euro-American contexts. With a focus on Chad, this presentation will elaborate the affordances of an analytical perspective that connects (the lacking) material infrastructures and people’s lifeworlds.
Andrea Behrends is Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology with a focus on Africa at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. Her research interests include studies on globally travelling ideas particularly in relation to managing conflict, the social consequences of resource extraction, humanitarian aid in situations of displacement and emplacement, and the relevance of human categories in their making and un-making. She is currently working on the publication of a book on ‘Lifeworlds in Crisis. Displacement, emplacement and aid in the Chad-Sudan borderlands’, with Hurst Publishers.