Lecture on May 14th, 2020
The Global Digital Economy Made Concrete: Unpacking the Smart City
Prof. Dr. Blayne Haggart (Brock University, Canada)
Prof. Dr. Natasha Tusikov (York University, Canada)
About the lecture
Digitization and the commodification of knowledge as data and intellectual property are fundamentally restructuring the global political economy, affecting everything from the nature of property relations to the exercise of regulatory power and distribution of economic gains. While a full appreciation of the scale and scope of these changes can be daunting, focusing on “smart cities” offers a particularly compelling lens through which to consider the nature of these far-reaching issues. The smart city – driven by data, enabled by digital technology and shaped by intellectual property – embodies the economic, social and political dynamics of the global digital political economy.
In this presentation, Blayne Haggart (Brock University, Canada) and Natasha Tusikov (York University, Canada) use the example of the internationally controversial Quayside smart-city development (driven by a Google-affiliated company) in Toronto to illustrate key, globally relevant political-economic structural changes and to elaborate a theoretical framework for understanding the causes and consequences of the emergence of the datafied society. Among other things, the Quayside smart-city project, involving the Google-affiliated company Sidewalk Labs, highlights how control over intellectual property and data have become central to the exercise of political, social, and economic power, with significant implications for citizens’ ability to exercise democratic control over their cities, countries and lives.
About the speakers
Blayne Haggart is Associate Professor of Political Science at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. He is the co-editor (with Natasha Tusikov and Kathryn Henne) of Information, Technology and Control in a Changing World: Understanding Power Structures in the 21st Century (Palgrave, 2019) and the author of Copyfight: The Global Politics of Digital Copyright Reform (University of Toronto Press, 2014). Blayne received his PhD in Political Science with a specialization in Political Economy from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. A former journalist and professional economist, his current research focuses on the political economy of knowledge governance, drawing on the work of Susan Strange and Robert W. Cox.
Natasha Tusikov is Assistant Professor of Criminology with the Department of Social Science at York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She is the author of Chokepoints: Global Private Regulation on the Internet (University of California Press, 2017) and co-editor of Information, Technology and Control in a Changing World. Natasha’s research examines the intersection among law, crime, technology, and regulation. She is currently the principal investigator of a grant assessing data governance in smart cities with a focus on the proposed smart city development in Toronto. Before obtaining her PhD at the Australian National University, she was a strategic criminal intelligence analyst and researcher at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Ottawa.
photo credit: Haggart & Brock University
Thursday, 14. May 2020, 18:15-19:45
Main Campus, lecture hall C
poster lecture Blayne Haggart & Nathasha Tusikov [pdf]
programme "Taming the Machines" [pdf] in summer 2020