Call for papers – Special Issue of STS Encounters – Engaging the ‘Data Moment’

Engaging the ‘Data Moment’

Call for papers – Special Issue of STS Encounters

Edited by Peter Danholt, Christopher Gad, Henriette Langstrup, and  James Maquire

Our contemporary moment is increasingly characterized by and through data. Imaginaries run wild; data is the new oil, the new currency, our new vehicle of growth, even. From quantified-self movements, to newly emerging forms of economics (such as bit coin and platform capitalism), to sensing-based environments (the internet of things), to the Janus-faced potentials of data analytics, data continues to proliferate, and in the process, transform people, organisations and societies. The recent introduction of the European GDPR aptly illustrates that the present moment is an opportune one to question and interrogate data, its various forms and formations.

Given the speculative and hype infused conjuncture we find ourselves in, evident in the rise of disruptive thinking or in new institutions such as Singularity University, we call for an engagement with the making and unmaking of data, as well as with its potentials and pitfalls in all its manifold nomenclatures, guises and manifestations – data work, data practices, information infrastructures, data imaginaries, data-experiments, the performativity of data models and so forth.

The so-called ‘data moment’ poses compelling empirical, theoretical and ethical challenges and is an opportunity to take stock of how STS might engage, and think with, data. One move is to rethink data through STS’s long history of engagement with, for example, classification and quantification, as well as contemporary studies of the making of data in the sciences. STS’s more recent foray into the arenas of Big-data, algorithms, machine-learning, as well as a host of state and governance issues relating to data citizenship, rights, and privacy, opens up fertile ground for calibrating old, or developing new, forms of analysis, critique and intervention. One might question, for instance, normative assumptions about data as a question of personal property or individual privacy. What role do categories, information technologies, and social relations play in such problematic figurations?

We welcome all contributions that aim to engage data through an STS perspective. Examples could be analyses aimed at rethinking data in relational terms, or engaging data as a matter of collective concern, or even using data-experiments to provoke or inspire. We also welcome papers that view ‘the Data moment’ as an opportunity for reflection on STSs own use, value, and imaginary of data. How might we think about the making of research ‘data’ in STS vis-à-vis the various data producing, data defining activities studied by STS-scholars?

Dates and Deadlines:

Dec 1st,2018: Submission of 500-700 word abstract

Jan 15th, 2019: Response from editorial team

May 1st, 2019 :Submission of full paper (4500-7000 words)

Abstracts and papers should be submitted to: