The fourth 2016-2017 meeting of CBS’ Markets and Valuation Cluster

Tuesday June 20th will be the fourth 2016-2017 meeting of CBS’ Markets and Valuation Cluster. Tomás Ariztía, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Universidad Diego Portales, Chile, will discuss his paper “Consumer databases as practical accomplishments: the making of digital objects, in three movements”.

The seminar will take place on June 20th, 10:00-12:00, Copenhagen Business School, Kilen, Kilevej 14A, 4, 2000 Frederiksberg. Room: Kilen, K4.74. The seminar is free and open for participation. It is expected that participants have read the paper in advance. To attend and receive the readings please write to seminar.ioa[at]

“Consumer databases as practical accomplishments: the making of digital objects, in three movements”


This paper aims to reflect on some key issues linked to the production of digital objects in business settings.  In doing so, it problematizes current social science scholarship, which emphasizes the analysis of digital data and analytics, reinforces the magnitude of its consequences and “data power”. The paper proposes making three corrective “movements” that might enrich our approaches to how databases and analytics are assembled in business settings.  The first movement involves the problem of ethnographic access to data-making practices. We propose taking seriously the issue of fabricating an ethnographic encounter where the process of making digital objects is exposed. The second movement concerns the visibility and the type of politics taking place in data practices. We argue for the need to displace attention from data impacts and results to the myriad of mundane practices and devices through which these objects are assembled. The third movement we suggest requires a focus on examining error and failure as key aspects of the manufacturing of consumer databases. Each of these movements is illustrated by ethnographic vignettes from a 9-month ethnographic experiment which involved participating in the first stages of the manufacturing of an online financial retail company’s consumer database.


Data Practices, Digital infrastructures, Databases, Consumers, Data Politics, Valuation.

Short bio: Tomás Ariztía is Associate Professor at the Sociology department of Diego Portales University, Chile and Deputy Principal Investigator of the Research Nucleus on Energy and Society. His research interest concerns sustainable consumption, energy use and energy infrastructures, the sociomaterial organization of consumption and the ethnography of business practices and devices.