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Data – ova – gene – data

Walford, A; (2021) Data – ova – gene – data. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute , 27 (S1) pp. 127-141. 10.1111/1467-9655.13484. Green open access

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Abstract

In this essay, I observe that data is valuable not only for what it is, but also for what it will become: that is, that data is a form of potential. I explore two aspects of this by drawing two comparisons with other forms of potential: ova and genes. First, building on ethnographic fieldwork with environmental scientists and technicians in the Brazilian Amazon, I compare data processing with ova donation in the United Kingdom in order to explore how data processing might be considered a form of reproductive labour. I then turn to emergent big data infrastructures in the environmental sciences, and compare the environmental sciences with genomics, in order to gesture towards some critical questions that need to be asked of such open data initiatives. I end with a reflection on comparison as a privileged means of drawing out the forms understood to be latent within data.

Type: Article
Title: Data – ova – gene – data
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9655.13484
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9655.13484
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 The Authors. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Royal Anthropological Institute This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
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/10130304
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