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Call for Papers
Policing in the Algorithmic Society
Consequences and Critical Perspectives
March 6-8, 2023
Fluminense Federal University, Niterói - Brazil
AGOPOL Project conference organized in collaboration with Instituto de Estudos Comparados em Administração de Conflitos - UFF
Artificial intelligence is viewed as the technology radically transforming our world. Data-driven predictions, risk assessments and algorithmic decisions are sold by tech developers as “evidence” and “intelligence” as the “truth”, transparent”, as “pure”, untouched by human emotion, prejudice, discretion, and judgment – alas, they are anything but (Kuldova, 2020). Police departments worldwide are embracing artificial intelligence as the future of decision-making. At the centre of this future of policing is data that “arises from the expanded ability to collect, store, sort, and analyze digital clues about crime” (Ferguson, 2017). These new technologies (or even their mere commercial promises) are impacting all aspects of policing and making “room for supposedly new and improved practices” (Edler Duarte, 2019).
Despite being a relatively new field, several critical studies already explore the consequences of algorithmic governance in policing, raising a series of questions:
What are the cultural and social consequences of these preemptive technologies?
How do these technologies intersect with pre-existing cultures of policing, institutional logics, and modes of organizing police work?
What happens when security, policing, knowledge, and our societies, and our institutions, become increasingly governed through or with support of opaque algorithmic systems that raise questions of accountability, justice, and legitimacy?
What gets lost when we rely on aggregated data, correlations, and modelling?
What are the impacts of the intertwined processes of datafication, securitization, and commodification of security on policing?
How do advances in artificial intelligence shape policing in different cultural, political, legal, and economic contexts?
How do developments in artificial intelligence shape the politics and policing of popular culture?
To what extent do changes in algorithmic governance inspire a rethinking of how politics and policing operate through music and popular culture?
And, what is the relationship between algorithmic governance and broader notions of cultural policing and the policing of the social?
This conference invites critical contributions exploring cultures of policing and the multiple impacts of technologies, especially algorithmic governance, in policing cultures across diverse spaces, preferably, but not exclusively, in the Global South. We welcome studies that address the data-driven organizational transformation of policing as well as new research on how cultures of policing operate through popular culture, particularly contributions from within social anthropology, critical management studies, critical social sciences, and the humanities.
We are interested in papers that:
focus on algorithmic, data-driven and digital policing in post-colonial settings, as well as ethnographic and qualitative studies of practices broadly defined as policing, including but not limited to studies of police institutions
contributions exploring societal impacts of policing and the transformations of expert knowledge, professionalism, professional judgement, and discretion due to datafication and organizational change are also welcome
studies that engage with historical perspectives on the use of technology in policing, exploring genealogies of digital policing, such as ideologies, discourses, visions, and sociotechnical imaginaries across locations and historical contexts
studies that explore cultures of policing through music and popular culture such as research on how sounds and music are used to manipulate and control social and political behaviour in different spaces (e.g. studies of how music is used in political elections or how sounds are used to control social behaviour and political values)
Please submit the following by February 1, 2023 to the workshop organizers:
An abstract of max. 300 words
Name, title, and institutional affiliation
A brief bio of no more than 150 words
Paulo Terra (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tomas Salem (Tomas.Salem@uib.no)
Kjetil Klette Bøhler (email@example.com)
The event will be in person only. In addition, the Organizing Committee informs that in case of acceptance, the guests will have to bear their expenses in Niterói. There is no conference fee.
Edler Duarte, D. 2019. Reassembling Security Technologies: Police Practices and Innovations in Rio de Janeiro. PhD dissertation King´s College London.
Ferguson, A. G. 2017. The Rise of Big Data Policing. New York University Press.
Kuldova, T. 2020. ‘Imposter Paranoia in the Age of Intelligent Surveillance: Policing Outlaws, Borders and Undercover Agents.’ Journal of Extreme Anthropology 4 (1): 45-73.
This conference is funded by The Research Council of Norway under project no. 313626 – Algorithmic Governance and Cultures of Policing: Comparative Perspectives from Norway, India, Brazil, Russia, and South Africa (AGOPOL).