Irina Shklovski: "The life of the data subject: The data experience in mundane practice"

The Reasearch Node KOM

Irina Shklovski, IT University of Copenhagen: "The life of the data subject: The data experience in mundane practice"

Dinner after the seminar: please notify at the latest on Friday 15th of April, if you wish to join the dinner. Use subject ”Dinner April 20” and inform about any allergies or vegetarian/vegan requirements.

The notion of the hyper-connected reality describes a world where personal data is a major issue of concern because its abundance enables the level of connectivity we experience while endangering notions of privacy and shelter from the public gaze. This, in any case, is the prevailing rhetoric of the potential “big data” offer and the cautions and concerns about its use. The broad brush-strokes of mass data collection, privacy and shelter from public gaze ostensibly address the relationship between “big data” and mundane practice but offer little insight into the actual practices potentially entangled in this vision. In considerations of big data, Couldry and van Dijk (2015) have recently argued that there is a need to theorize the dialectic of system and practices. The point is well taken and here I want to consider what this dialectic engenders as both a theoretical and methodological quandary. I ask a simple question: What are data and how do data come to be “big” in the context of individual experience? The rhetoric around “big data” whether hopeful or critical, often makes the assumption that in practice individuals would both produce data (whether wittingly or not) and be affected by data-driven processes based in part on these same data collected, aggregated, analyzed, and then spat back, presumably altering individual experience. The aggregate datasets are appropriated and used by a range of institutional actors many of whom remain opaque and hidden from view, and the connection between individual experience and the ostensibly data-driven actions of institutional actors remains difficult to trace. My goal here is to demonstrates how concerns with data in practice inevitably turn to social interactions, negotiations and accountabilities. There is a necessity to bridge between the everydayness of mundane concerns about the in-situ experience of quantification of mundane practice and the large-scale systems and institutional structures that become stakeholders invested in this sort of counting. To do so I rely on two examples of wearable computing - one voluntary and one imposed - to consider how data can interpose and mediate our relationships with each other and with institutional structures to which we are beholden.


KOM People:
Research Leaders: Mikael Byström (HIstory), Tomas Ekenberg (Philosophy)
Contact, ALM: Ulrika Kjellman
Contact, History of Ideas: Frans Lundgren