Most of the DATACTIVE team will be in Bremen for the DATAPOWER 2019 conference. Hit us up on twitter if you would like to meet! Below you can find the abstracts to the papers we will be presenting.
Plus, on Saturday, we’ll lead the invitation-only post-conference workshop “Everyday Data”. More info about that project will follow soon!
What feminist theory of datafication emerges from contemporary data activism? (S. Milan)
Costanza-Chock, S. (2018). Design Justice, A.I., and Escape from the Matrix of Domination. Retrieved from https://jods.mitpress.mit.edu/pub/costanza-chock?version=c5860136-8a6c-424b-b07c-9c8c071615b0
Wajcman, J. (2010). Feminist theories of technology. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 34(1), 143–152.
From Data Politics to the Contentious Politics of Data (D. Beraldo, S. Milan)
This article approaches the paradigm shift of datafication from the perspective of civil society. Looking at how individuals and groups engage with datafication, it draws upon the notion of data politics as defined by Ruppert, Isin and Bigo (2017), and complements it by exploring the “contentious politics of data”. By contentious politics of data we indicate the multiplicity of bottom-up, transformative initiatives interfering with and/or hijacking dominant, top-down processes of datafication, by means of contesting existing power relations and narratives, or by re-appropriating data practices and infrastructure for purposes distinct from the intended. Said contentious politics of data is articulated in an array of practices of data activism, taking a critical stance towards datafication and massive data collection. Data activism is characterized by the role of data as mediators, deployed as part of an action repertoire or as objects of struggle in their own right. Leveraging social movement studies and science and technology studies, this paper is illustrated with qualitative data collected in the framework of a multi-year project exploring the politics of big data from the perspective of civil society. It argues that data activism manifests itself along two continuums: data as “stakes” (that is, as issues/objects of political struggle in their own right) versus data as “repertoires” (or modular tools for political struggle), and individual practice versus collective action. The emergence of a political data subject in the realm of the civil society might lie at the intersection of these two dimensions.
Infrastructures of Anticipation: exploring emergent civil society strategies (of resistance) to pervasive surveillance and data exploitation (B. Kazansky)
Playing with data and its consequences (M. Gutierrez, S. Milan)
(Re-)assembling data publics? Cases from open data, data journalism and data activism (J. Gray, L. van der Velden, L. Bounegru)
Drawing on a range of different empirical vignettes from our previous and ongoing research on open data, data journalism and data activism, we aim to situate, conceptually unpack, critically explore and empirically specify the notion of data publics. We explore the ways in which data publics are assembled, configured, invited to act and act in ways other than expected. Drawing on perspectives in STS and media studies, we examine some of the different ways in which data publics are enrolled as witnesses, auditors, investigators, innovators and sensors, including through issues such as surveillance, climate denial, air pollution, and devices such as data portals, indexes, repositories, forums, kits and apps.
Ruppert, E. (2015). Doing the Transparent State: Open Government Data as Performance Indicators. In R. Rottenburg, S. E. Merry, S.-J. Park, & J. Mugler (Eds.), A World of Indicators: The Making of Governmental Knowledge Through Quantification (pp. 127–150). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Citizen engagement with superior audit institutions: the possibilities of citizen generated data (G. Torres, D. Lämmerhirt)
Recently, some SAIs started to invite citizens to participate in auditing. Throughout Latin America, for example, different mechanisms allow citizens to join SAIs by suggesting specific audits, making particular complaints about suspected violations, joining the yearly planning of audits to be conducted, or following-up the recommendations produced by the SAI.
Despite substantive attention to the practices of social audits, little attention is paid to how these practices relate to traditional auditing. Literature suggests different conditions enabling cooperation or take-up of citizen-generated data by government (McElfish, Pendergrass, Fox 2016). Instead of regarding citizen data as mere resource, authors emphasise that data-intensive citizen-state cooperation must inquire the politics defining what can be known and audited (Oettinger 2009). The paper builds on these debates asking: What conventions and standards do Superior Audit Institutions develop to engage with traditional and non-traditional types of data? How do these conventions and standards interplay with the practices of citizen auditing?
This paper presents literature and empirical cases of SAI-citizen cooperation to explore the role that CDG could play within collaborative audits between civil society and governmental institutions. I focus particularly on how agreed practices of CDG interplay with the standards that SAIs establish to secure the robustness of their audits.