Nairobi’s digital death-worlds and the geo-corpographies of extra-judicial killings

This paper draws from Victoria Bernal’s concept of infopolitics-how power is exercised and expressed through digital communication- and Achille Mbembe’s concept of death-worlds, in which specific people are subjected to conditions of life conferring upon them the state of the living dead-to explain Nairobi’s Eastlands culture of police extra-judicial killings that are foretold, announced and published on Community Policing Facebook groups- which I refer to as Kenya’s digital deathworlds. In particular, this paper reveals how urban geocorpographies-space and bodies, in the Eastlands neighbourhoods of Kayole, Dandora and Mathare, where the routine killing of suspected gang member already profiled on Facebook, reveal policing practices that are both a product of history, and a routine of the state’s performance of security in Eastlands. Drawing on field and digital ethnographic work in Eastlands/Facebook Groups, this paper provides an empirical description of the digital deathworlds, whose many facets explains perceptions of crime and justice-among them a public support of controversial policing methods and insights into Nairobi’s gang cultures.