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Order

interests and ‘voices’, as Maha Abdel Rahman has argued (Abdel Rahman 2017). Clearly the poorly paid, often rural-origin conscripts who were posted on the front lines with barely any shelter or proper food, squatting for endless days in the streets behind the concrete buffer walls erected around Tahrir by the army in 2011 and 2012, confronting demonstrators, represent an entirely different world from that of the highly placed officers and generals who gave the orders to fire on the protesters. New Capital Cairo, the army’s grandiose dream CAIRO (Reuters) – Impoverished

in Cairo collages
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Everyday life practices after the event

In Cairo collages, the large-scale political, economic, and social changes in Egypt brought on by the 2011 revolution are set against the declining fortunes of a single apartment building in a specific Cairo neighbourhood. The violence in Tahrir Square and Mohamed Mahmud Street; the post-January euphoric moment; the increasing militarisation of urban life; the flourishing of dystopian novels set in Cairo; the neo-liberal imaginaries of Dubai and Singapore as global models; gentrification and evictions in poor neighbourhoods; the forthcoming new administrative capital for Egypt – all are narrated in parallel to the ‘little’ story of the adventures and misfortunes of everyday interactions in a middle-class building in the neighbourhood of Doqi.

can be seen as a configuration. Practically, a configured number, if such a curly term is permitted, will need to be counted in ways that hold together the two aspects Suchman highlights. A configured number might be integral to the existence of the ‘technology’, in this case the ‘social coding’ platform Github. At the same time, that number would, in its counting, call our attention to what is being materialised in terms of an imaginary and all that entails.2 Re-counting a capital number on a platform On Github, two numbers have cardinal and indeed capital

in Ethnography for a data-saturated world
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A new faction of the transnational field of statistics

. In this regard, big data is introducing to the 34 Ethnographies of data science repertoire of official statistics not only new forms of data but also new valuations of professional skills and expertise, or, as we conceptualise in this chapter, of cultural and symbolic capital (Bourdieu 1984). In the making of official statistics, what exactly comes to count as data science and the profession of data scientist is not self-evident. While there is much talk about a new science and profession,1 a science of data dates back to Peter Naur’s Concise Survey of Computer

in Ethnography for a data-saturated world
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Commute

2 Tale II: Commute Meanderings and wanderings through regular commutes to the desert English/Arabic advertisements of real estate on billboards on the Sixth of October Bridge, up to 90th Road, New Cairo, 15 February 2018: ‘Madinaty … your life investment. Call: 19691.’ (in Arabic) ‘Customise your space and pick your view, Lake Park Studios, Taj City. Call: 16750.’ ‘Capital Heights, New Capital, New Home. Luxurious apartments and duplex. 0% down payment, up to 7 years instalment. Developed by Safwa Urban Development.’ ‘In Cairo’s future, there’s Sun Capital and

in Cairo collages

the ‘informatics language’: a technical data discourse of cleanliness, accuracy and individualisation that was a source of symbolic capital used to foster identity and maintain discipline. Both sets of workers were paid by the volume and quality of the work they produced, but in the BPO industry this new commodity Engineering ethnography 87 was ‘information’ – abstract and flexible. This combination of new technologies and imaginaries also represented a new arena for the creation and manipulation of workers’ identities (Freeman 2000; Mullings 1999). Operators

in Ethnography for a data-saturated world
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Waiting for freedom

was a cold, sunny March day, I was walking down a street in the centre of Riga and I had a long winter of fieldwork behind me. There was still snow around; it always lingered for a lot longer than anyone liked, often into April, some years even into May. But parts of the pavement were already clear and dry, and I was enjoying my stroll. I had always found walking through the slush of snow and mud on the streets one of the worst things about the Latvian winter. Suddenly I saw a stencil on the pavement right in front of me. It was a question written in white capital

in Politics of waiting
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they, as Viktorija was to argue, offer an opportunity of starting to carve out a space for living a livable life? What are the moral and political stakes of choosing one or the other reading? By the time I had returned for this additional fieldwork trip, I was more open to listen. The Maxima tragedy was a story about unregulated capital and pursuit of profit. But Viktorija was right, it was also about one’s sense of self. Both women in Viktorija’s story were waiting. And this waiting could have been deadly in this instance. It was waiting that was a question of life

in Politics of waiting
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Deaths at sea and unidentified bodies in Lesbos

as mass fatalities in shipwrecks, coupled with more personal ties to local authorities, create opportunities for advocates for migrants to address effectively some of the problems. The political lives of migrant bodies In her book on the ‘political lives’ of dead bodies, Verdery (2000) captures the symbolic capital of human remains and how these are deployed by political leaders to meet political objectives. The graves of unidentified migrants are politically significant because of the absence of political capital invested in them; in essence, it is the silence

in Migrating borders and moving times

Japan, Germany, Poland and Korea) act as reminders that the Soviet capital was the scene not only of mass murders, but also of mass cremations, well before the ovens of the Nazi camps. The vast majority of corpses from the gulags, however, remain buried in the vicinity of the camps. And so, given that the camps were for the most part situated in the vicinity of urban conglomer­ ations, the map of the gulags precisely matches the map of the population of the Soviet Union. Yet in spite of the proximity between the Soviet population, the camps and their mass graves

in Human remains and mass violence