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Software-sorted geographies

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Stephen Graham



This paper explores the central role of computerized code in shaping the social and geographical politics of inequality in advanced societies. The central argument is that, while such processes are necessarily multifaceted, multiscaled, complex and ambivalent, a great variety of `software-sorting' techniques is now being widely applied in efforts to try to separate privileged and marginalized groups and places across a wide range of sectors and domains. This paper's central demonstration is that the overwhelming bulk of software-sorting applications is closely associated with broader transformations from Keynesian to neoliberal service regimes. To illustrate such processes of software-sorting, the paper analyses recent research addressing three examples of software-sorting in practice. These address physical and electronic mobility systems, online geographical information systems (GIS), and face-recognition closed circuit television (CCTV) systems covering city streets. The paper finishes by identifying theoretical, research and policy implications of the diffusion of software-sorted geographies within which computerized code continually orchestrates inequalities through technological systems embedded within urban environments.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Graham SDN

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Progress in Human Geography

Year: 2005

Volume: 29

Issue: 5

Pages: 562-580

Print publication date: 01/01/2005

Date deposited: 17/03/2010

ISSN (print): 0309-1325

ISSN (electronic): 1477-0288

Publisher: Sage


DOI: 10.1191/0309132505ph568oa


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