Urban Spatialities in and Digital Imageries of Post-pandemic India
Following the pandemic, the ways in which mobile bodies are being administered and governed are in sync with advanced techniques of demographic control, which manifests into increasing digital surveillance on mobilities. Conversely, the neo-liberal economic order reifies speed and mobility, while ‘deterritorialization’ continues to constitute an important paradigm for the ‘flows and networks’ in a globalized world. From within this apparent dichotomy emerges a thrust toward normativizing digitally-aided mobility, which has churned out a diverse range of digital apparatuses (for instance, apps that measure ‘proxemics’, most popularly, the Aarogya Setu app; e-passes for metro rides or inter-/intra-state travel etc.) -- often guised as public health technology systems -- that seek to restrict, control, enable and negotiate mobilities across post-pandemic spaces. Departing from here, this volume looks into the evolving nature of urban spatialities in the context of post-pandemic India and how it leverages digital infrastructures. It explores the recent interferences of digitally-aided urban mobility, their ‘affordances’ in light of the pandemic, and how digitality as a phenomenon brings into ‘being’ certain conditions of spatialities otherwise illegible. In examining how digital infrastructures play out in the context of such mobilities, it therefore asks: What affordances does the digital furnish in terms of ontologies of urban mobility under the ‘new normal’? Who/what does it enable? How does it fulfil the aspirations of the ‘smart’ city? How do people negotiate and maneuver digital technologies to navigate through the cityspace? How do they (re)construct the digitally (re)mediated city? These questions comprise the central problematique of the volume.
Those interested may send a 300-word abstract and a short bio-note as a single PDF attachment to the co-editors Avishek Ray (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Neha Gupta (email@example.com) with ‘Abstract for Post-Pandemic Spatialities’ in the subject-line by 23 July 2021. Full drafts of approx. 7000 words will be due in January 2022. Amsterdam University Press has expressed a preliminary but strong interest in the project.