Call for papers for track at Nordic STS

Deadline 17.1.2018

Data, governance, welfare: Nordic perspectives

Currently, “data” seems to emerge everywhere and be on everyone’s lips: multiplying, proliferating and transforming. Shrouded in equal parts hype and anticipation, there seems no end to the capacities of “data.” Nordic welfare states have been avid promoters of the data-driven narrative for quite some time. Some politicians even promote the idea of the welfare state as a data gold mine, and infrastructures are currently developed and deployed across a variety of welfare domains to mine this resource. In a sense, this is nothing new, as welfare states have been bound up with the collection, analysis and use of data for centuries. Censuses and land registers are but some of the techniques used by states to make their populations known. So what, if anything, is changing in our current “data moment”? How is the use of new data-based technologies imagined to change existing welfare institutions and enact new futures? How are data practices currently reconfigured? Might there be anything specific in adopting a Nordic perspective on the ‘data worlds’ that are in the making? And to what extend is research in itself implicated in performing contemporary data imaginaries? STS is in a privileged position to tackle these major societal changes: not only has it developed important conceptual devices for unpacking the entanglement of technological and human practices; it has also paved the way for a reflexive engagement with world-making efforts. In this session, we invite papers that focus on questions of data, governance and welfare from both empirical and conceptual perspectives. The session is open to a diversity of contexts and methodological approaches, though we are particularly keen to see ethnographic contributions that engage reflexively and creatively with emergent data practices. The session also welcomes experimental modes of presentation that playfully subverts and reimagines the dissemination of knowledge.