SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

The Political Economy of Digital Infrastructures

Sarah El-Kazaz (SOAS)

Date: 9 December 2021Time: 4:00 PM

Finishes: 9 December 2021Time: 6:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: 4429

Type of Event: Talk

The data revolution is transforming governance and commerce at an unprecedented scale. Digital technologies enabling instantaneous complex computations on massive data sets are bringing digitization to every realm of our existence from border controls to payments to infrastructure management. Initially, developed countries and established corporations had exclusive access to the prohibitively expensive storage and computational facilities necessary for such digitization. With the building of the public “Cloud,” developing economies and smaller businesses suddenly had access to data storage and computing power without needing to build the capacities themselves. Thus far, scholarship has focused on the substance of data circulating on the Cloud to study topics such as the politics of information collection but has overlooked studying the Cloud as infrastructure. Through this research programme, I follow the geographic materialization of the Cloud in the Middle East and Africa to interrogate the political-economic implications of Cloud technologies, and their “disruptive” potential, on the re-making of corporate power, developmental hierarchies and imaginings of “the economy” across the Global South. This session will be organized as a brainstorming workshop on developing this new research programme rather than a traditional presentation.

Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 946 2752 5833
Passcode: p5ACqTHTWe