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Séminaire ISCC 7 novembre 2016

Inside Datafication : Investigating how data practices affect public management 7 novembre 2016, 17h à 19h, ISCC

With the access to more data and novel ways of analysis and visualization, data practices transform governance. The overly positive narrative of ’big data’ shapes collective imaginations of smart cities and cost effective public management. However, the reality of working with data, translating everyday processes of city life into data and making sense of it is more complicated. It touches upon critical issues about transparency, accountability and civic participation. Over the past three years I investigated with the Utrecht Data School the process of datafication and the emergence of novel data practices in the Netherlands. Conducting commissioned research projects for state departments and municipalities provided insight into the challenges of "big data". These challenges range from the managing expectations concerning the mythical qualities of big data over practical issues such as implementation of data practices or providing open data for re-use to data literacy and data ethics. The complex network of various actors on the most diverse layers (municipal data analysts, city officials, citizens and media) reveal social transformation in the making. The Utrecht Data School serves not only as service provider conducting research projects, but also an ’anthropological vehicle’ to immerse into datafication and to trace and document its social impact. This research practice is far beyond ’participative observation’ but puts the scholar into the position of co-operating and contributing directly in the field where research is conducted. It allows the researcher not only to gain crucial insight but also to make an impact. This talk addresses the research process and presents key findings from our three year-long investigation. Consequently, this presentation makes a plea for data literacy and data ethics and suggests a method for developing the awareness for these issues in data analysis projects and among larger populations of civil servants.
Mirko Tobias Schäfer is Assistant Professor for New Media & Digital Culture at Utrecht University and the project leader of the Utrecht Data School. In 2016, Mirko is a Mercator Research Fellow at the NRW School of Governance at University of Duisburg-Essen. His research interest revolves around the socio-political impact of media technology. His publications cover user participation in cultural production, hacking communities, politics of,software design, datafication, and communication in social media. He is co-editor and co-author of the volume Digital Material. Tracing New Media in Everyday Life and Technology (Amsterdam University,Press, 2009) and author of Bastard Culture ! How User Participation Transforms Cultural Production (Amsterdam University Press 2011). Forthcoming is his co-edited volume The Datafied Society. Studying Culture through Data (Amsterdam University Press 2016).
He tweets as @mirkoschaefer. For more information, please visit :

Utrecht Data School is a teaching and research platform at Utrecht University (NL) :
Discutante : Sarah Labelle est maître de conférences en sciences de l’information et de la communication, Université Paris 13. Elle est membre du Laboratoire des sciences de l’information et de la communication (LabSIC, EA 1803).
les séances se déroulent chaque premier lundi du mois de 17h à 19h. Pour obtenir des renseignements et/ou vous inscrire, écrivez à

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