Liquefying Social Capital. On the Bio-politics of Digital Circulation in a Palestinian Refugee Camp

Monika Halkort


Abstract: This article discusses the biopolitical dimension of digital circulation in the specific context of refugee relief. Drawing up on observational fieldwork conducted in Nahr el Bared, one of the largest Palestinian refugee camps in North Lebanon, it explores how the digital capture of social and spatial evidences fundamentally transforms the social capital invested in local knowledge, gradually eroding critical capacities for community selfgovernance. Building upon the concept of “data derivatives” developed by Louise Amore’s, the article focuses in particular on the speculative dimension of data to suggest that the conversion of an embodied memory into data-based forms provides powerful means for rendering unsanctioned claims of ownership and belonging visible, actionable and effective. At the same time it opens up new modes of “probalistic containment” that restrict individual and collective life chances under the pretext of democratic participation and empowerment.

Keywords: Data derivatives; bio-politics; social capital; risk; speculation; political claim making.

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