Borders and bodies are increasingly regulated by data-capturing mechanisms spread across the world through information and communication technologies. This article traces the features and implications of such a border-body datalogical entanglement through the figure of the drug mule. It analyzes government documents and recorded case studies to argue that this figure emerges from an assemblage of cultural narratives, legal structures, human labor, technical practices, and biological processes. The datalogical drug mule is already implicated in a struggle over what, and how, data is meaningful and actionable. Investigating this figure allows us to begin disentangling the data-driven mechanisms that constitute modern borders and bodies while at the same time accounting for analog continuities in contemporary practices of border security.
The Datalogical Drug Mule
Juan Llamas-Rodriguez is an assistant professor of transnational media at the University of Texas at Dallas in the School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication. He received a PhD in film and media studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an MA in film studies from Concordia University, Montreal. His research concerns the technological rendering of borders and the public understanding of global media phenomena.
Juan Llamas-Rodriguez; The Datalogical Drug Mule. Feminist Media Histories 1 July 2017; 3 (3): 9–29. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2017.3.3.9
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