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The political economy of digital data: introduction to the special issue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-446
Number of pages8
Issue number5
Accepted/In press1 Jan 2020
Published2 Sep 2020

King's Authors


In an era where digital data is becoming an increasingly important element in the production of knowledge, wealth, and power, it takes radical solutions to ensure that digital data is not used to merely increase power and profits for the privileged. As the contributions to this Special Issue show, it also takes new regulatory approaches, institutions, and research fields to ensure that the political economy of digital data contributes to justice and wellbeing of people and societies. Rather than merely analysing the shortcomings of the current situation, we need visions and instruments to build new institutions: institutions in and through which human expertise, experience, and interaction are seen as equally important as high-tech precision; where new norms and policy instruments ensure that the benefits of data use accrue for society at large, and in particular for the marginalised and vulnerable; and where the datafication of the bodies, lives, and practices of people who have no realistic chance to opt out is recognised and condemned for what it is: robotic brutality (Mick Chisnall).

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