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Simondon on Datafication: A Techno-Cultural Method

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-92
Number of pages17
JournalDigital Culture and Society
Volume2
Issue number2
Early online date24 Dec 2016
DOIs
Accepted/In press1 Dec 2016
E-pub ahead of print24 Dec 2016
PublishedDec 2016

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Abstract

This article proposes the techno-cultural workshop as an innovative
method for opening up the materiality of computational media and
data flows in order to increase understanding of the socio-cultural and
political-economic dimensions of datafication. Building upon the
critical, creative hacker ethos of technological engagement, and the
collective practice of the hackathon, the techno-cultural workshops is
directed at humanities researchers and social and cultural theorists.
We conceptually frame this method via Simondon as a practice-led
opportunity to rethink the contested relationship between the human,
nature and technology, with a view to challenging social and cultural
theory that ignores the human reality of the technical object.
We outline an exemplar techno-cultural workshop which explored
mobile apps as i) an opportunity to use new digital tools for empirical
research, and ii) as technical objects and elements for better understanding
their social and cultural dimensions. We see political efficacy
in the techno-cultural method not only in augmenting critical and
creative agency, but as a practical exploration of the concept of data
technicity, an inexhaustible relationality that exceeds the normative
and regulatory utility of the data we generate and can be linked anew
into collective capacities to act.

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