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Identify and SortHow Digital Power Changed World Politics$
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Josef Teboho Ansorge

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190245542

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190245542.001.0001

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Digital Power does Development

Digital Power does Development

(p.149) 10 Digital Power does Development
Identify and Sort

Josef Teboho Ansorge

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at the concept of the technics of the politics of North-South relations. It begins with the notion of the periphery as a laboratory of social and political technologies for the core—exemplified by Michel Foucault's concept of the “boomerang effect.” This is followed by a discussion of the way technology—from liberation technology to cyber-utopianism—is treated and imagined in relation to the global South. It then proceeds to a study of the history of the development of fingerprinting that explicitly connects technologies used to identify individuals with colonialism while pointing to the constitutive, and globally interconnected, effects of such kinds of standardizing technical innovations. The main part of the chapter examines the applications of digital power in a case study of Demobilisation, Demilitarisation, and Reintegration (DDR) and Security Sector Reform (SSR) programs in Liberia (2003–10). These programs lend themselves well to the thematic focus of this book because they have particular information technology requirements. They are, for the main part, executed by foreign interveners; occur in geographic territories which, in a very short timespan, mix different modes of the technics of politics; and have as one of their primary, but overlooked, outputs a stable regime of individual documentation.

Keywords:   techics, politics, North-South relations, boomerang effect, liberation technology, cyber-utopianism fingerprinting, digital power, Liberia, information technology

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