Perret, S., & Aradau, C. (2023). Drawing Data Together: Inscriptions, Asylum, and Scripts of Security. Science, Technology, & Human Values, 0(0).


Data have become a vital device of border governance and security. Recent scholarship on the datafication of borders and migration at the intersection of science and technology studies and critical security studies has privileged concepts attuned to messiness, contingency, and friction such as data assemblages and infrastructures. This paper proposes to revisit and expand the analytical vocabulary of script analysis to understand what comes to count as data, what forms of data come to matter and how “drawing data together” reconfigures power and agency at Europe’s borders. Empirically, we analyze controversies about the practices of asylum decision-making and age assessment in Greece. We show that agency of “users” is unequally distributed through anticipations of subscription and dis-inscription, while asylum seekers are conscripted within security scripts that restrict their agency. Moreover, as a multiplicity of inscriptions are produced, migrants’ claims can be disqualified through circumscriptions of data and ascriptions of expertise.

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