Our Urban Pulse review article (written with Arunima Ghoshal, Anwesha Aditi, Arya Thomas and Yogesh Mishra) for Urban Geography “Apps, maps and war rooms: on the modes of existence of “COVtech” in India” has been published. This article emerges in response to the proliferation of technologies that seeks to track, trace and manage the COVID19 pandemic in India and is part of our project on Provincialising the Smart City. This article examines the emergence of ”COVtech” as a range of public sector-led technologies of surveillance, management and containment of COVID19 in India. COVtech lends itself to examination of what Gilbert Simondon calls ”concretisation” of technical objects. We argue that COVtech initiatives have different modes of existence in India – first as the redeployment of existing technologies assembled across urban, regional and federal scales of governance; second, as current technologies curated within translocally situated networks which are mobilised to provide relief and support to vulnerable groups locked out/in Indian cities. We conclude by proposing that a progressive mode of existence of COVtech rests not with the ‘what’ and ‘where’ of the disease monitored by the apps, maps and War rooms of the State, but in addressing the ‘who’ and ‘how’ of its impacts mobilised by civil society and non-state actors.
Full article is free and open access via link below.