The Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth’s 2019 conference
This panel invites contributions on urban information flows and knowledge infrastructures that critically engage with different knowledge practices in the context of contemporary 'urban challenges'.
In a rapidly urbanising world, two out of three people will be living in cities by 2050. Urban environments are therefore focal points of key social, political and ecological challenges. But while the UN's Sustainable Development Goals aspire to "make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable", cities are also becoming the loci of contestations and struggles over sustainability, spatial inequality, heritage and history and urban democracy. At the heart of these challenges are the diverse, overlapping and often conflicting knowledges that form the information architecture of the city - the invisible flows and reservoirs of 'data' (including, but not limited to, electronic data) that interlace the built environment with intersecting 'webs of meaning'. We invite papers that critically engage with urban information flows and knowledge practices in the broadest sense. This could include: competing knowledge economies in the city, practices of information sharing and mapping, contested and marginalized urban knowledge practices, questions of explicit vs. implicit knowledges in/of the city, information and/as social power, urban knowledge materialities , technological and technologized knowledge, and disruptions to information flows and their consequences. We also welcome contributions that critically interrogate the categories of 'knowledge' and 'information' in an urban context: What counts as knowledge/information and knowledge acquisition, and who determines that? How does information facilitate or impede democracy, creativity, co-production, governance and innovation, and what 'Info-wars' emerge from these processes? What is the role of anthropology/ethnography in building and mapping urban information infrastructures?
Convenors: Steph Grohmann and Magdalena Buchczyk (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)