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Software-sorted geographies (2005)

Author(s): Graham SDN

    Abstract: This paper explores the central role of computerized code in shaping the social and geographical politics of inequality in advanced societies. The central argument is that, while such processes are necessarily multifaceted, multiscaled, complex and ambivalent, a great variety of `software-sorting' techniques is now being widely applied in efforts to try to separate privileged and marginalized groups and places across a wide range of sectors and domains. This paper's central demonstration is that the overwhelming bulk of software-sorting applications is closely associated with broader transformations from Keynesian to neoliberal service regimes. To illustrate such processes of software-sorting, the paper analyses recent research addressing three examples of software-sorting in practice. These address physical and electronic mobility systems, online geographical information systems (GIS), and face-recognition closed circuit television (CCTV) systems covering city streets. The paper finishes by identifying theoretical, research and policy implications of the diffusion of software-sorted geographies within which computerized code continually orchestrates inequalities through technological systems embedded within urban environments.

      • Date: 2005
      • Journal: Progress in Human Geography
      • Volume: 29
      • Issue: 5
      • Pages: 562-580
      • Publisher: Sage
      • Publication type: Article
      • Bibliographic status: Published

      Keywords: CCTV • code • geodemographics • inequality • mobilities • remediation • software-sorting • surveillance • unbundling


      Professor Stephen Graham
      Prof of Cities & Society