We are DATACTIVE, a research project and a research collective exploring the politics of big data broadly defined. We are researchers, meaning we exercise both curiosity and scientific rigor in exploring social reality and its manifold web manifestations.
We like to think of our research as antidisciplinary: we are empowered by our differences and our respective mixed backgrounds in the social sciences and humanities. We muddle up the borders between sociology | science and technology studies | critical security studies |philosophy | political science | development studies | human computer interaction | liberal arts.
Not only are we curious about the world, we also seek to make a difference. We experiment with engaged research an approach to research that, without departing from systematic, evidence-based, social science research, aims to make a difference for groups and individuals beyond the academic community. This approach emerges from our individual engagement over the years with a variety of social movements and non-governmental organizations across the world. It affects, for example, the questions we ask and the ways we engage with groups and individuals. In other words, we take the ethics of research very seriously. We explicitly privilege a grassroots perspective, and our research often takes sides. It is activism by other means.
We seek to engage critically with our role in academia and the public education system. We acknowledge (our) privilege but also listen to our dissatisfaction with hierarchical and authoritarian systems. This is why we try to experiment with horizontal, participatory dynamics in our daily practices. We learn from each other and our differences, and engage in prefigurative politics, subverting here and now the hierarchical relationships and dynamics of academia.