Nathaniel O’Grady Seminar: ‘Governing the Everyday’, next week at RHUL

On Tuesday (2nd Dec) next week Nat O’Grady from University of Southampton will be giving a seminar titled: ‘Governing the Everyday: Anticipation, Data and Decision in UK Emergency Response’.

Details follow below, but here’s the abstract of Nat’s talk:

Fires, petty crime, heart attacks and car crashes share a common eventfulness. They are all emergencies which, although majorly interruptive, occur with a daily regularity. These emergencies, furthermore, have all been the subject of re-appraisal and re-problematisation over the last decade in terms of how they are secured. No longer are these events thought of as simply taking place spontaneously in an ever unfolding present. It is their future occurrence that emergence responders such as the Fire and Rescue Service, Police and Ambulance service seek to know and, in so doing, to apprehend and secure before they have the chance to unfold. The actualisation of this anticipatory governance is possible due to  a variety of digital technologies which make projections on the risk of emergencies in the future.
This paper probes this turn to the anticipatory governance of everyday emergencies through the case of the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) and its governance of fire. I will explore what I call the digital infrastructure of the FRS; an assemblage of software, hardware, data, fibre-optic cables, organisational processes and human beings which function to make fire risk projections. In its calculation and rendering visual risks of the future, I demonstrate how the digital infrastructure can open up to consideration the human and non-human relations which underpin the data-security nexus, how populations are secured through digital technologies, how the power of security apparatuses rest on their flexibility and why, somewhat unfashionably, the notion of risk remains crucial to the world of security.

The seminar will run on Tuesday 2nd December from 17.00-18.15 in room 136 in the Queens Building, Geography, Royal Holloway. All are welcome.


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