International Workshop “Digital Barbed Wire and Social Control: The Politics of Internet Shutdowns in India” (Feb. 28)

2024.02.28

Category: Workshop

Research Group: B03 Peace Building

The workshop“Digital Barbed Wire and Social Control: The Politics of Internet Shutdowns in India” will be jointly held by Grant-in-Aid for Transformative Research Areas (A) “Trust and Peace Building in Conflict Affected Areas” and Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B)“The Historical Origins of Authoritarianism: Comparative Studies of Former British Colonies in South Asia”. 

Date&Time: February 28, Wednesday, 2024, 15:00-17:00(JST)
Venue: Room No. AA447, Research bldg. No. 2 (4th floor), Yoshida Campus, Kyoto University

Program:
15:00-16:00 Dr. Taberez Ahmed Neyazi (National University of Singapore) ‘Digital Barbed Wire and Social Control: The Politics of Internet Shutdowns in India’
16:00-16:15 Comment (Prof. Kazuya Nakamizo, Kyoto University)
16:15-17:00 Discussion

Language: English
Condition: In-person Meeting
Pre-registration: please use this form
Contact: Saori Nishikawa nishikawa.saori.8e[at]kyoto-u.ac.jp

Outline:
The earlier debates about internet technology largely focused on the diminishing control of sovereign states on information flows. Scholars celebrated the widespread diffusion and use of the internet as a march of globalization, which signified a shift in power from the state and the corporates to the citizens. However, the events in the later half of the 2010s have shown how the states have regained control of Internet infrastructure, which has far-reaching consequences for political freedom. Internet shutdowns or intentional disruption of the internet and other means of electronic communication have been used even by democratic governments to limit citizens’ right to access internet technologies. By imposing internet shutdowns for a prolonged period, the state is able to communicate that it has acquired the power to punish citizens in a way that will jeopardize their basic existence and deprive them of their very dignity. Drawing upon my fieldwork in India and several data sources, I examine the different aspects of internet shutdowns and study the phenomenon both at the macro and micro levels. In doing so, I offer a new theoretical framework to conceptualize the phenomenon of internet shutdowns: how technology can be used as “digital barbed wire” to control, discipline and subjugate citizens. I also present a typology of digital barbed wire to show how internet technologies have been weaponized by the government and tech giants to curtail citizens’ rights and the future of democratic politics in India.

Speaker’s Profile:
Taberez Ahmed Neyazi is an Assistant Professor of Political Communication and New Media in the Department of Communications and New Media and Principal Investigator at the Centre for Trusted Internet and Community at the National University of Singapore (NUS). Taberez’s research focuses on political communication and public opinion; computational social science; digital, mobile and social media; communication theory; political Islam; and public policy with a focus on India, Indonesia and South Asia. He has authored Political Communication and Mobilisation: The Hindi Media in India (Cambridge University Press, 2018) and co-edited Democratic Transformation and the Vernacular Public Arena in India (Routledge, 2014). He has published several journal articles. He’s currently working on a book monograph titled Digital Barbed Wire and Social Control: The Politics of Internet Shutdowns under contract with the MIT Press.

Co-Organizer: 
Grant-in-Aid for Transformative Research Areas (A) “Trust and Peace Building in Conflict Affected Areas”(Principal Investigator: Masako Ishii, 20H05829) and Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B)“The Historical Origins of Authoritarianism: Comparative Studies of Former British Colonies in South Asia” (Principal Investigator:Kazuya Nakamizo, 23H03619)

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