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BigBang Sprint at IETF110 Hackathon

When: March 1-3, 2021

The BigBang project will be working on improving its tool for mailinglist analysis at the IETF 110 Hackathon.

BigBang is an open source research project that studies collaboration and contention in digital infrastructure projects and governance institutions. We do this by combining data science techniques with qualitative methods. For example, with BigBang you can analyze participation, affiliation, gender, and networks in the IETF, ICANN, RIPE, IEEE, or the 3GPP.

We very much welcome both techncial and non-technical contributors! BigBang is built on the scientific Python stack, and we use Jupyter notebooks to make the analysis transparent and accessible.

To join the IETF 110 Hackathon, please register using the link from the Hackathon website. Registration is free!

We intend to work on (some of) the following issues during the hackathon:

– Integration and analysis of 3GPP and IEEE mailing lists
– Integration with the INDELab conversationkg tool
– Produce instructional videos
– Improve linking across datasets (such as the datatracker and mailing lists)
– Query/notebook design to support projects from research community
– Discussion of Star’s boundary object vs. Luhmann’s structural coupling
– The operationalization of _your_ research question!

The BigBang project will have a one-hour team meeting Friday February 26 – 9:00 ET / 14:00 GMT / 15:00 CET before the Hackathon which all are welcome to attend if they are curious about the project. You can join via this link:

Please don’t hesitate to write Seb (sbenthall at gmail dot com) if you have any questions about the BigBang project or the IETF 110 sprint, or if you have suggestions for research questions!


NOW OUT: COVID-19 from the Margins: Pandemic Invisibilities, Policies and Resistance in the Datafied Society (free download)

We are thrilled to announce the publication of the collection “COVID-19 from the Margins: Pandemic Invisibilities, Policies and Resistance in the Datafied Society”, edited by Stefania Milan, Emiliano Treré (Cardiff University) and Silvia Masiero (University of Oslo) for the Theory on Demand series of the Institute of Network Cultures!

The book explores pandemic invisibilities and datafied policies, but also forms of resistance and creativity of communities at the margins as they try to negotiate survival during the COVID-19 crisis. It features 75 authors writing in 5 languages in 282 pages that amplify the silenced voices of the first pandemic of the datafied society. In so doing, it seeks to de-center dominant ways of being and knowing while contributing a decolonial approach to the narration of the COVID-19 emergency. It brings researchers, activists, practitioners, and communities on the ground into dialogue to offer critical reflections in near-real time and in an accessible language, from indigenous groups in New Zealand to impoverished families in Spain, from data activists in South Africa to gig workers in India, from feminicidios in Mexico to North/South stereotypes in Europe, from astronomers in Brazil to questions of infrastructure in Russia and Github activism in China—and much more!

The book is **open access**. You can download the .pdf and .epub versions from this page.
While supplies last, we are also distributing printed copies for free (use the same link to order yours).

“COVID-19 from the Margins caringly and thoughtfully demonstrates why the multiplicity we call “the poor” is more than ever at the receiving end of the worst effects of globalized, patriarchal/colonial racist capitalism. But they are not passive victims, for their everyday forms of activism and re-existence, including their daily tweaking of the digital for purposes of community, care, and survival, has incredible insights about design and digital justice that this book takes to heart as we strive to undo the lethal effects of ‘the first pandemic of the datafied society’ “, wrote about the book Colombian anthropologist Arturo Escobar, author of ‘Designs for the Pluriverse. Radical Interdependence, Autonomy, and the Making of Worlds’ (Duke UP, 2018).

A number of book launch event will follow in the coming weeks. Visit this website to stay tuned, or follow the project on Twitter (@BigDataSur).

We wish to thank a number of sponsors without whom this project and the blog where it all started would not have been possible. In order of appearance, the Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis, the School of Journalism, Media and Culture at Cardiff University, the European Research Council, and the Research Priority Areas of the University of Amsterdam Global Digital Cultures and Amsterdam Center for European Studies. Finally, a big heartfelt thanks goes to Geert Lovink and his INC team, for believing in this project from the start and giving us the chance to experiment with multilingualism and knowledge sharing.

Stefania’s talks in November-December 2020

In November-December, DATACTIVE PI Stefania Milan will participate in a number of public events where DATACTIVE will variably feature.

In November:

  • Internet Governance Forum (3 November)
  • FallingWalls Fireside chat (6 November)
  • Jean Monnet Network
  • Wagening workshop (9 and 16 November )
  • ASCA Summit (24 November)

In December:

  • Roundtable “AI and Bias in Translation”, organised by the Goethe-Institut (2 December)
  • “Stories of the pandemic: voices and data from communities and the South”, part of the Speaker Series of the Institute for Media and Creative Industries at Loughborough University London (3 December). Stefania will join Vinod Pavarala (University of Hderabad, India) and Emiliano Treré (Cardiff University, UK) in a two-hour discussion on the role of community media during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Digital methods for social change” workshops for the Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy (15-15 December)

Stefania on surveillance at DIG Awards (Modena, 9 October)

On October the 9th, Stefania is in Modena (Italy) to talk about society and surveillance at the investigative journalism festival DIG (Documentari Inchieste Giornalismi) Awards. She will join on stage Philip Di Salvo (University della Svizzera Italiana), Veronica Barassi (University of St Gallen), Riccardo Coluccini and Biella Coleman (McGill University), in a panel asking “Can we live a life without surveillance”?. DIG is the biggest European investigative journalism festival.

Stefania at the kick-off of “Global Digital Cultures” (2 October)

The University of Amsterdam has a new Research Priority Area dedicated to exploring “Global Digital Cultures”. Global Digital Cultures is a interdisciplinary research community for comparing and analyzing the profound changes brought about by digitization around the globe. Read more here.

The kick-off event of the new Research Priority Area featured a keynote by Prof. Louise Amoore (Durham University) in conversation with our PI Stefania Milan, along the lines of Amoore’s latest book on “Cloud Ethics” (Duke University Press, 2020).

NEW chapter on mailing-list analysis by Niels, Stefania & Davide (LIVE presentation on September 22!)

Niels ten Oever, Stefania Milan and Davide Beraldo co-authored the chapter “Studying Discourse in Internet Governance through Mailing-List Analysis” for the book Researching Internet Governance: Methods, Frameworks, Futures, edited by Laura DeNardisDerrick CogburnNanette S. Levinson and Francesca Musiani (MIT Press, 2020). The volume is open access, and you can read it all by following this link.

To celebrate the release of our new book on September 22, 2020 at 12pm EST on Zoom, some of the authors will present their chapters, including Niels. Register here to attend. Anriette Esterhuysen (Chair of the IGF’s Multistakeholder Advisory Group and Senior Advisor for Global and Regional Internet Governance at the Association for Progressive Communications) will be moderating the discussion. Presenters include Sandra Braman, Milton Mueller, Ron Deibert and Jeannette Hoffman.

Stefania in conversation with Ranga Yogeshwar (Berlin & YouTube, 19 September)

Stefania was in Berlin on Saturday the 19th of September to give a talk at the Futurium museum–the awesome House of Futures.

With a reduced audience due to Covid-19, Stefania discussed risks and opportunities of datafication in conversation with Germany’s most famous science journalist, Ranga Yogeshwar. The event is available on YouTube. Note that the talk is in English with some inserts (e.g., the introduction) in German. Enjoy!

Protesting online: Stefania interviewed by the Dutch Tegenlicht

Only a few months ago, we were able to walk the streets with for the Women’s or climate march. Now streets are empty and activists, except for a few, stay at home. How to demonstrate in the so-called one-and-a-half meter society?

Stefania has been interviewed in an article by the Dutch critical public documentary series Tegenlicht / BackLight concerning protesting online. In light of COVID what does it mean to protest changes – read the full article here (in Dutch).

[News] CFP: Special issue of Palabra Clave – Deadline Extension

Please note that the upcoming special issue of Palabra Clave, titled “Latin American perspectives on datafication and artificial intelligence” decides to extend its original deadline (March 21, 2020) for abstract. The deadline has been extended until May the 1st, 2020.

Stefania Milan & Emiliano Treré as guest editors of this special issue.

More information on the CfP here:

Call for papers (Español):

Call for papers (English):

Call for papers en (Portugués):


[News] CFP: Contentious Data: The Social Movement Society in the Age of Datafication

Editors: Stefania Milan, Davide Beraldo, Cristina Flesher Fominaya

NEW DEADLINE: Due to COVID-19 situation, we have decided to extend the deadline. The new deadline is MAY 25, 2020

Datafication is changing the conditions under which contemporary social movements operate, opening up new terrains of contention. As a result, grassroots initiatives in the realm of data activism, data justice, algorithmic accountability and/or resistance to mass surveillance mushrooms in liberal and authoritarian regimes alike. These initiatives vary by scale, organizational forms, tactics, political visions and technological imaginaries. They may take data “as repertoires”, whereby data and data-based tactics are mobilized as constituents of innovative tactics, or “as stakes”, that is to say issues or objects of political struggle in their own right (Beraldo and Milan, 2019). However, they share an emphasis on the contentious politics of data.

While many instances of the contentious politics of data have come under the spotlight of specialists of digital politics and culture, social movement scholars are only starting to investigate the consequences of datafication on organized collective action. Yet datafication represents a paradigm change able to radically transform “social movement society”, urging social movements scholars to reflect on how it intersects with known social movement dynamics.

This Special Issue invites scholars of social movements and critical data studies to engage with i) case studies and ii) theoretical reflections illustrating the evolution of collective action vis-à-vis datafication. We are particularly interested in (interdisciplinary) theory development: fostering a dialogue across disciplinary boundaries, the Special Issue wants to bring the question of datafication -broadly defined -to bear on social movement scholarship, with the ambition of addressing what has been to date a “blind spot” in social movement literature, and cross-fertilizing disciplinary fields that have long remained disconnected.

Consequently, we welcome papers (max 8,000 words) engaging with the following:

• Unfamiliar empirical cases of: social movements’ critical engagement with the datafication agenda (e.g., Hong Kong activists dismantling lamp posts with surveillance cameras); creative incorporation of data-based practices and tactics in social movements’ repertoires (e.g., citizen-led collection of pollution data); social movements engaging in struggles around data issues (e.g., algorithmic accountability); examples of conflation between data as constituents of action repertoires and data as a contentious issue in its own right.

• Theoretical perspectives on, for instance, data activism, data justice, artificial intelligence, the relation between protest and social structures in the age of datafication, etc. as they intersect social movements and collective action processes, concepts, and research questions.

• Theoretical contributions on, e.g., the relation between data and the means-ends continuum in social movements, oriented to theory development in the field of social movement studies.

Submission Process and Deadlines

Abstracts due 30 April 2020

Acceptance announced by 15 May 2020

Paper development workshop last week of August 2020

Submissions due 30 November 2020 

We invite the submission of structured extended abstracts (800-1000 words). Abstracts should be sent to no later than 30 April 2020. The outcome of the selection process will be notified no later than 15 May 2020. Prospective authors will be given the option to participate in a paper development workshop held at the University of Amsterdam in the last week of August (tentative date). Full paper submission (original articles of no more than 8.000 words) is due on 30 November 2020.

All papers will be subjected to double-blind peer review. For further instructions see the “Instructions for Authors” and “Style Guide” provided by Social Movement Studies.

Please contact us if you have any further inquiries:

  • Stefania Milan (DATACTIVE, Department of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam):
  • Davide Beraldo (DATACTIVE, Department of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam):