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Global Development Institute

Data Justice through the Prism of Information Politics and Resource Injustice: A Case Study from Hyderabad’s Urban Frontier

Loraine Kennedy, Ashima Sood, Debdatta Chakraborty & Ram Mohan Chitta

Abstract

How does data visibility affect vulnerable communities that face uncertainty over occupational rights? Or in other words, can data justice be realized in settings of acute resource injustice? These are the overarching questions that our case study interrogates by opening up the black box of the community in the volatile and fast-transforming context of occupation rights on the peri-urban frontier. We examine the unfolding of data and information processes through the lens of enumeration and community mapping exercises conducted in a low-income neighbourhood or basti located in the fast-transforming peri-urban fringe of Hyderabad, India. We argue that the realization of data justice is mediated by ‘information politics’, i.e., the ways in which informational resources, as well as the risks and rewards associated with them, are distributed across individual actors and identity groups within the community. In so doing, our case study underlines the importance of a structural understanding of data justice and also suggests directions for embedding justice in data processes.

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