Making Data Visualizations, Contesting Security: Digital Humanities Meet International Relations

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This article brings debates about data visualization in digital humanities in conversation with critical security studies and international relations. Building on feminist approaches in digital humanities, we explore the potential and limitations of data visualization as a critical method for research on (in)security. We unpack three aspects of making data visualizations by specifying “making” in this context as working, orienting, and critiquing. Making data visualizations as a methodological device is oriented by questions about the contestation of security and orienting research by provoking new questions about practices of critique. Empirically, we situate data visualizations within British parliamentary debates about GCHQ, the UK’s signals intelligence agency, which has garnered much public attention in the wake of the Snowden disclosures of transnational mass surveillance. We argue that data visualization in the parliamentary archive can destabilize dominant understandings of security, problematize narratives of security actors and oversight, and attend to the uneven presence of critique and contestation within and beyond parliamentary debates.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobal Studies Quarterly
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 6 Jul 2023


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