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Introduction: Towards an anthropology of data

Douglas-Jones, R; Walford, A; Seaver, N; (2021) Introduction: Towards an anthropology of data. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute , 27 (S1) pp. 9-25. 10.1111/1467-9655.13477. Green open access

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Abstract

The world is talking ‘data’. The early cross-disciplinary, business-orientated hype around the potential of ‘big’ data, with its promises of unprecedented insight into social life, has given way. Data now motivates a sweep of dystopian visions, from rampant commodification to the invasion of privacy, political manipulation, and shadowy data doubles. Yet anthropologists have been cautious in taking data itself as their object, even as the social life of data practices becomes manifest in our ethnographies. In this introduction, we argue for an anthropology of data that is ethnographically specific and theoretically ambitious, putting forward a case for why anthropological engagements with the data moment might be not only politically important but also conceptually generative.

Type: Article
Title: Introduction: Towards an anthropology of data
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9655.13477
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9655.13477
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10130303
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