Big Data, Urban Citizenship, and the World Machine

By Mike Dee.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Urban public spaces are increasingly sutured with a range of surveillance and sensor technologies claiming to enable new forms of “data based citizen participation,” but often leading to “function-creep,” whereby vast amounts of data are gathered, stored, and analysed in a broad application of urban surveillance. This kind of monitoring and capacity for surveillance connects with attempts by civic authorities to regulate, restrict, rebrand, and reframe urban public spaces and the communities located there. A direct consequence of the increasingly security driven, policed, privatised, and surveilled nature of public space is the exclusion or “unfavourable inclusion” of those considered flawed and unwelcome in the “spectacular” consumption spaces of many major urban centres. This paper considers alternative scenarios, suggesting that cities, places, and spaces and those who seek to use them, can be resilient in working to maintain and extend democratic freedoms and processes, calling sensor and surveillance systems to account. Thisbetter informs the implementation of public policy around the design, build, and governance of public space. Moreover, understandings of urban citizenship, social rights, and participation in the sensor saturated, “Big Data” urban environment are interrogated through consideration of forms of citizenship, extending the work of Marshall and Bottomore (1950) by looking at Insurgent and also Ecological citizenships.

Keywords: Data, Power, Surveillance, Citizenship

The Global Studies Journal, Volume 10, Issue 2, June 2017, pp.41-49. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 4.020MB).

Dr. Mike Dee

Lecturer, Public Health and Social Work, Social Work and Human Services, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


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