If a human being is to survive to adulthood, they must spend much of their early lives being watched over. But what happens when this form of care is mediated by smart technology? Technology which digitally monitors children has witnessed significant growth over the last ten years—from socks which monitor a baby’s biological signs, to software which tracks adolescents on the internet. This postdoctoral project addresses the ways in which new forms of monitoring are re-mediating the parent-child relationship. With a particular focus on the use of care-apps—applications on smart devices that geo-monitor children at a distance—it studies how this primordial relation between watcher and watched over is evolving. The research takes place in Germany, where the benefits and risks of this new economy have been the subject of heated debate.


About the Anthropologist

Dr Claire Dungey is a Research Associate in the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London.

Claire is currently a postdoctoral researcher on the collaborative project ‘Surveillance and Moral Community: Anthropologies of Monitoring in Germany and Britain’ led by Dr Vita Peacock. Claire’s role is to explore how care is mediated through smart technologies, and how new forms of app-based monitoring are re-mediating child-parent relationships in Germany.

Claire has a Ph.D in anthropology from Aarhus University (2015) based on fieldwork in Uganda on schooling and children’s understandings of friendship, care, and mistrust. She has taught several courses within the anthropology of education and schooling at Aarhus University and Brunel University London over a 7-year period.

At Brunel University London (2016-2018) she worked on a project on aspiration and futures in Lesotho which involved fieldwork within schools and families. From 2019-21 she focused on young women’s aspirations to work in the transport sector, and their mobility challenges in Tunis, Abuja and Cape Town which involved training young women as peer researchers, doing policy interventions and using remote methods during the COVID-19 pandemic (Durham University). From 2020-21, Claire also conducted research on future planning, social inclusion, and active travel in the UK. Overall, Claire is interested in exploring mobility issues, children’s travel and how relations of care play out within families.

Her staff profile is available here.