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The formalising regime and its formalising technology: the case of informal trade in Recife, Brazil

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNConference contribution/Paper

Published
Publication date05/2015
Host publicationProceedings of the 13th International Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries (IFIP 9.4) Negombo, Sri Lanka, May 2015 (2015) : Openness in ICT4D: Critical Reflections on Future Directions
EditorsPetter Nielsen
Place of PublicationOslo
PublisherDepartment of Informatics, University of Olso
Pages643-653
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9788273684653
Original languageEnglish
EventIFIP 9.4: 13th International Conference Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries - Sri Lanka, Negombo, Sri Lanka
Duration: 20/05/201522/05/2015

Conference

ConferenceIFIP 9.4: 13th International Conference Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries
CountrySri Lanka
CityNegombo
Period20/05/1522/05/15

Conference

ConferenceIFIP 9.4: 13th International Conference Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries
CountrySri Lanka
CityNegombo
Period20/05/1522/05/15

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to consider the role of ICT within the formalisation programme put forward by Recife's City Council to regulate the informal trade that pervades the city's popular squares and streets. This formalisation takes shape by issuing formal licenses to give informal workers 'permission' to sell pre-determined items at specific sites. Drawing on Foucault we will argue that ICT is a formalising technology, which serves this formalising regime to control, discipline and survey informal traders. We will argue that the technology's disciplinary intent was shaped by: a) the ways by which the socio-political context, rather than a technical rationality, affected how both control and surveillance were performed and disciplinary decisions were enacted; b) how its appropriation by licensed workers facilitated the reach of the regime's surveillance but in some cases also sabotaged the programme's disciplinary intents, c) how the information system reinforced the marginalization of informal workers and strengthened the position of the municipality.