Our collaboration aims to undertake various projects to advance the social scientific analysis of  ‘big data’ and digital practices that will be of benefit to academics, students, practitioners and policy makers. The motivation is the proliferation of digital data and methods that are innovating new ways of knowing and governing people and things. Yet how these digital practices specifically work and their governing consequences, we suggest, are not well understood in the social and computing sciences. To address this, we aim to develop and use innovative concepts and methods for investigating how digital practices are at work in governing. We first take the view that digital practices enact worlds; that is, they simultaneously create and represent people and things and then come to govern them. Understanding how digital practices do this and with what normative and political effects is the aim of this collaboration, which brings together social and computing scientists in the UK, France and Netherlands.

We start by ‘socialising’ the term ‘digital data-object’ (DDO). While the computing and information sciences understand DDOs as simply digitally stored information, SLODDO investigates the specific socio-technical practices and enacting moments when DDOs emerge, travel, do things, have effects, change, decline and disappear. That is, how DDOs come into being, act in the world and have social lives.

Collaboration Organiser and Coordinator: Dr Evelyn Ruppert, CRESC, The Open University

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  1. Pingback: The social lives of digital-data objects blog | Thinking culture

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