A Crisis of Opportunity: Market‐Making, Big Data, and the Consolidation of Migration As Risk – Antipode – article

A Crisis of Opportunity: Market‐Making, Big Data, and the Consolidation of Migration As Risk

Linnet Taylor, Fran Meissner | Antipode

2019-10-22

Crisis narratives surrounding Europe’s 2015 migration influx fuelled demands for new ways of tracking, mapping and predicting human mobility. We explore how market opportunities for technology firms and data analytics start‐ups created by the EU’s Global Approach to Migration led to solutionistic approaches to compiling and analysing migration statistics. We show that initiatives such as the rebranding of existing platforms and services as migration prediction systems are consolidating policy conceptualisations of migration as risk. Despite the promise of greater granularity, this “big data approach” cannot offer greater certainty about who is on the move and why. Instead such approaches are ill‐suited to understanding the complex dynamics of migration and to offering protection to vulnerable people. The marketisation of migration statistics through big data offers a key case for advancing progressive approaches to both migration statistics and global data justice.

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