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Stefania at Science Foo

On July 12-14 Stefania will be at X in Mountain View, in Silicon Valley, as one of the invitees to Sci Foo. Science Foo is a series of interdisciplinary conferences organized by O’Reilly Media, Digital Science, Nature Publishing Group and Google. It is an “unconference focused on emerging technology, and is designed to encourage collaboration between scientists who would not typically work together”. Stefania plans to propose a session on ‘decolonizing data’.

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Guillén at the Global Conference for Transparency Research 2019

Last week, Guillén was in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to present part of his PhD project on the sociotechnical obstacles faced by data/information activists in Mexico and the strategies they develop to overcome them. His talk, “Institutional Resistance to Datafication-from-below”, was part of the pannel “Civil Society Experiences”, in which researchers and practitioners from México, India and the UK reflected around how the legal frameworks of transparency are experienced by engaged citizens.

Below you can find the abstract of his presentation. Get in touch with him if you’d like to discuss!

Governmental transparency through Freedom of Information Laws has become a standard in modern liberal democracies. Although the connection between transparency and political accountability has been thoroughly questioned, research seems to confirm that access to public sector information is a key (albeit not sufficient) factor fostering citizen empowerment. However, a recent trend in Latin America, denounced by both practitioners and academics, consists of governments, who in paper state their support for transparency, implementing various kinds of strategies to hinder the process of accessing public sector information, curbing governmental transparency. While a considerable body of research on transparency’s performance in many countries around the world has focused on its drawbacks and challenges, and there is even a specific set of literature looking particularly at the factors that affect governmental responsiveness to FOI requests, the attention of scholars has mostly been set on what happens within institutions, while the experiences of politically engaged citizens have received less study. In this paper I chose a different path, focusing on how Mexican information activists experience and make sense of delays, denials and obstacles during the process of accessing Public Sector Information through the Freedom of Information Law. Thus, I attempt to switch the attention from the evaluation of transparency policies through indexes that measure the achievement of policy goals, to the embodied experience of the communities involved in policy performance.


Stefania at IAMCR in Madrid

On July 8-11, Stefania will be in Madrid for the annual conference of the International Association of Media and Communication Research (IAMCR). She will present some preliminary findings of her new research on feminist and postcolonial theories of change in data activism; participate in a roundtable on Big Data from the South, featuring Monika Halkort, Patricia Peña, Emiliano Treré, Nick Couldry and Ulises A. Meijas; take part in a roundtable on smart cities, in conversation with Matthew Bui (Annenberg at USC), and participate in the launch of ‘Hybrid Activism’ (Routledge, 2019) by Emiliano Treré.


Stefania at the Summer School on Methods for the Study of Political Participation and Mobilization, Florence

On June 4, Stefania gives a lecture on ethical issues in social movement and political participation research at the Summer School on Methods for the Study of Political Participation and Mobilization, in Florence, Italy.

The school is organised by the ECPR Standing Group on Participation and Mobilization and the Dipartimento di Scienze Politico-Sociali at the Scuola Normale Superiore.


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fbTREX reaction to Facebook collaboration

Research associate Claudio Agosti argues the need for independent critical research in a reaction to the news that Facebook is opening its door to scholars for academic research. The statement on the EU19 tracking exposed project website portrays why academic research should not be delimited by corporate conditions for research only;  we should engage in independent critical research to platforms that important for our online public democratic spaces.

Claudio on Twitter: “Last week Facebook announced would share some data with some researchers: don’t be fooled, it is not a gift.”

Read the full statement here allows re-purposing social media data for critical research goals. It is currently employed in a use-case for analyzing the European Elections 2019. Claudio Agosti is DATACTIVE research associate, and fbTREX is hosted by DATACTIVE / ALEX as a form of data activism in-practice.


“Big Data from the South”: new article & Special Issue out

We are very proud to announce the publication of the Special Issue “Big Data from the South” in the journal Television & New Media. Edited by DATACTIVE PI Stefania Milan and Emiliano Treré (Data Justice Lab), it features six articles and a commentary:

* Stefania Milan and Emiliano Treré: ‘Big Data from the South(s): Beyond Data Universalism’ (Milan/Treré) (>> open access at*
* Nick Couldry and Ulises A. Mejias: Data Colonialism: Rethinking Big Data’s Relation to the Contemporary Subject
* Paola Ricaurte: Data Epistemologies, The Coloniality of Power, and Resistance
* Payal Arora: Decolonizing Privacy Studies
* Monique Mann and Angela Daly: (Big) Data and the North-in-South: Australia’s Informational Imperialism and Digital Colonialism
* Jean-Marie Chenou and Carolina Cepeda-Másmela: #NiUnaMenos: Data Activism From the Global South
* María Soledad Segura and Silvio Waisbord: Between Data Capitalism and Data Citizenship (commentary)

You can explore the Special Issue at
The leading article, entitled “Big Data from the South: Beyond Data Universalism”, is open access at this page.

Abstract. This article introduces the tenets of a theory of datafication of and in the Souths. It calls for a de-Westernization of critical data studies, in view of promoting a reparation to the cognitive injustice that fails to recognize non-mainstream ways of knowing the world through data. It situates the “Big Data from the South” research agenda as an epistemological, ontological, and ethical program and outlines five conceptual operations to shape this agenda. First, it suggests moving past the “universalism” associated with our interpretations of datafication. Second, it advocates understanding the South as a composite and plural entity, beyond the geographical connotation (i.e., “global South”). Third, it postulates a critical engagement with the decolonial approach. Fourth, it argues for the need to bring agency to the core of our analyses. Finally, it suggests embracing the imaginaries of datafication emerging from the Souths, foregrounding empowering ways of thinking data from the margins.

To continue the conversation about Southern and resistant epistemologies of datafication (well beyond the ‘Global South’!), visit the webpage of the Big Data from the South Initiative [1], check out the multilingual blog (and consider to contribute to it!), and join the dedicated mailing-list.
If you have access problems, get in touch with us.

Cite as Milan, S., & Treré, E. (2019). Big Data from the South(s): Beyond Data Universalism. Television & New Media, 20(4), 319–335.