[Air-L] Data Power conference, Sheffield, UK, June 2015

Ben Light ben.light at qut.edu.au
Wed Nov 5 23:04:06 PST 2014

Forwarding this on behalf of Helen Kennedy at Sheffield.  Please direct all enquiries as detailed below.

Cheers, Ben.

DATA POWER: a two-day, international conference
Date: Monday 22nd and Tuesday 23rd JUNE 2015
Venue: University of Sheffield, UK

Data make many promises. Through data, we can access opinions, feelings, behaviours, people, in real time, at great volume and at great speed. Tracking data is the holy grail. Data have the potential to transform all aspects of society, making all of its operations more efficient. Big data represent opportunities for social researchers to enhance understanding of human behaviour. The numbers speak for themselves.
But what is the cost of the data delirium (van Zoonen)? What kind of power is enacted when data are employed by governments and security agencies to monitor populations or by private corporations to accumulate knowledge about consumers in an increasingly ‘knowing capitalism’ (Thrift)? Because contemporary forms of data mining and analytics open up the potential for new, unaccountable and opaque forms of population management in a growing range of social realms, questions urgently need to be asked not only about who gets access to data and whose privacy is invaded, but also about control, discrimination, and social sorting – about data power. We also need to ask about the possibility of agency in the face of data power, of social groups sidestepping the dominating interests of big business and big government in our increasingly big-data-driven world.
This conference creates a space to reflect on these and other critical issues relating to data’s ever more ubiquitous power. Keynote speakers include these fantastic commentators on data power:

·      Mark Andrejevic, Center for Critical and Cultural Studies, University of Queensland, author of AOIR book award winner Infoglut (2013);

·      Nick Couldry, London School of Economics, author and editor of 11 books & numerous articles, including ‘Big data from the bottom up’ (Big Data and Society);

·      Kate Crawford, Microsoft Social Media Research Collective, author of numerous articles on big data and Understanding the Internet: Language, Technology, Media, Power (forthcoming) (participation to be confirmed);

·      José van Dijck, Comparative Media Studies, University of Amsterdam, author of The Culture of Connectivity (2013);

·      Alison Hearn, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario, author of numerous articles on data, labour and subjectivity;

·      Richard Rogers, Digital Methods Initiative, University of Amsterdam, author of ICA book award winner Digital Methods (2013);

·      Evelyn Ruppert, Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths College, University of London, author (with Engin Isin) of Being Digital Citizens (forthcoming) & editor of Big Data and Society;

·      Joseph Turow, Annenberg School of Communication, University of Pennslyvania, author of The Daily You (2012), amongst many other publications.
Papers are invited on the following – and other relevant – topics:

  *   The political economy of data
  *   Data cultures (data and the cultural industries, data journalism)
  *   Data and the production of subjectivity and identity
  *   Theorising data
  *   The politics of data visualisation
  *   Data labour
  *   Emotional data
  *   The social life of data and data-driven methods
  *   The politics of open and linked data
  *   Data-driven governance, surveillance and control
  *   Data and discrimination
  *   The regulation of data mining
  *   Data citizens
  *   Resistance, agency, appropriation.

·      Whilst we welcome papers of all kinds, please note that this conference focuses on critical questions about data’s power. Papers which do not address critical, social questions will not be accepted.

·      Submit 250 word paper proposals to data-power-conference at sheffield.ac.uk<mailto:data-power-conference at sheffield.ac.uk>by 16th January 2015. Decisions will be communicated by 30th January 2015.

·      The conference fee is £120 waged (approx. $190 / 150 euro, £80 unwaged/student (approx. $130 / 100 euro).

·      The conference will launch the special issue of The European Journal of Cultural Studies edited by Mark Andrejevic, Alison Hearn and Helen Kennedy, entitled ‘Data Mining and Analytics’.

·      DATA POWER is hosted by the University of Sheffield’s Digital Society Network, and the Department of Sociological Studies, both in the Faculty of Social Sciences.

·      The Steel City of Sheffield is one of the UK’s largest cities, close to the Peak District National Park in the heart of England, and with a fantastic cultural and creative life.

Professor Helen Kennedy
Department of Sociological Studies / Faculty of Social Sciences
Elmfield, Northumberland Road
Sheffield S10 2TU
T: 0114 2226488
E: h.kennedy at sheffield.ac.uk<mailto:h.kennedy at sheffield.ac.uk>

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