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Big data and the power of narrative

March 21, 2019 - March 22, 2019

IT University of Copenhagen, March 21-22, 2019.

The promise of big data is sweeping across the sciences, and the everyday practices that are the object of anthropology are increasingly leaving data traces. Scholars talk about a ‘datafication’ of social life and see in the digitalization new ways of predicting behaviour and understanding sociality. A range of technologies are involved in the datafication of everyday life operating to a large extent through the internet of things, AI, the inter- connected devices monitoring and regulating everything from our health to finances and reputation, to our energy use, transport, and the food chain infrastructures that sustain our lives. How might we understand the implications of this datafication of everyday life? How might we explore the emerging political and economic contours? How does datafication influence what counts as true and worth knowing? Can anthropology and adjacent fields have a special role in providing narratives about the things that escape datafication?

In this symposium we invite ethnographers to explore these questions and reflect on what ethnography stood to gain from embracing the data abundance and what big data analytics could learn from ethnography.

Key note speakers:

Joe Dumit, University of California, Davis, Minna Ruckenstein, University of Helsinki, Evelyn Ruppert, Goldsmiths.

Abstract deadline:

January 10, 2019, 100-200 words to be sent to Lea Enslev at leen[at]itu.dk

Notification of acceptance: february 2019

We welcome papers that address the seminar theme.

Registration is open at


Participation is free and coffee and lunch will be provided during the two-day event. Registration is required.


Brit ross winthereik, It University of Copenhagen, Klaus hoeyer, University of Copenhagen,
and Maja Bruun hojer, aalborg University.

Sponsored by Independent Research Fund Denmark, ERC, and the Velux Foundation.


March 21, 2019
March 22, 2019


Rued Langgaardsvej 7
København S, 2300 Denmark
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