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Data politics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Evelyn Ruppert, Engin Isin, Didier Bigo

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalBig Data & Society
Volume4
Issue number2
Early online date3 Jul 2017
DOIs
E-pub ahead of print3 Jul 2017
Published1 Dec 2017

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Abstract

The commentary raises political questions about the ways in which data has been constituted as an object vested with certain powers, influence, and rationalities. We place the emergence and transformation of professional practices such as‘data science’, ‘data journalism’, ‘data brokerage’, ‘data mining’, ‘data storage’, and ‘data analysis’ as part of the reconfiguration
of a series of fields of power and knowledge in the public and private accumulation of data. Data politics asks questions about the ways in which data has become such an object of power and explores how to critically intervene in
its deployment as an object of knowledge. It is concerned with the conditions of possibility of data that involve things (infrastructures of servers, devices, and cables), language (code, programming, and algorithms), and people (scientists,
entrepreneurs, engineers, information technologists, designers) that together create new worlds. We define ‘data politics’ as both the articulation of political questions about these worlds and the ways in which they provoke subjects to
govern themselves and others by making rights claims. We contend that without understanding these conditions of possibility – of worlds, subjects and rights – it would be difficult to intervene in or shape data politics if by that it is meant
the transformation of data subjects into data citizens.

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