Practicing digital state welfare | (Colombia) Julia Malik

Practicing digital state welfare

In my PhD project, I look at the interplay of digitalization, welfare, and statehood. Ethnographically researching a digital classification system used in Colombian welfare, I investigate how practices and materialities of digital welfare form the state. I thus explore how this digital welfare infrastructure is sociotechnically enacted in various ways. Further, I illuminate how these enactments configure the state, shaping bureaucracy, social policy, welfare delivery, governmental knowledge, and interactions between civil servants and citizens. Moving beyond common assumptions about digitalization and beyond its consequences for citizens, I attend to its non-standardized, manifold, ambivalent, and unexpected effects as well as its intertwinements with non-digital processes. Conceptualizing digitalization as multiplicity produced through sociomaterial practices, my dissertation project enriches theoretical debates on digitalization and the state.

In my master thesis, I examined practices and norms of care at a state hospital in the Philippines and discussed negotiations of “good” care and of the relation between “medical/public” and “kinship/private.

Julia Malik

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