Dating Datafication? History, Epistemology and Politics of Big Data

6-7 January 2020 // Systems of Social and Technological Organization
Jaume Valentines-Álvarez, C.I.R.C.E., Staffan Müller-Wille

The epistemological, social, and energy implications of Big Data are central to recent debates on the multilayered global crises, the geopolitics and body-politics of knowledge, and the control of borders, desires and dissidence at the core of the Anthropocene (or Data-cene?). This seminar is devoted to collectively discussing this global and ubiquitous entity in its social, gendered, and material contexts. It will pay special attention to the long and “slow” history of big scientific data, data-centrism and algorithm governance, which is usually neither considered when looking at the immediacy and speed of data circulation nor when thinking the genealogy of the slow disasters. Through workshops, visits and discussions, we will also explore the role of the Small (communities of hackers, activists, alternative media or social databases from the margins) in contesting the merged scientific and political authorities displayed by the Big (big data, big science, big media, big companies or states). The environmental, social, and epistemological challenges that Big Data poses to science and politics need to be critically observed and discussed to depict new horizons. Convivial thinking, collaborative outputs, and, if possible, good spirits are expected from the participants of the seminar.