Analyzing citizen data practices and how they challenge or work within dominant data regimes.
The evolving relationship between citizens and data is a fundamental issue of our time. It impacts social formation, cohesion and civil rights, since data has become the basis for innumerable social, political and economic processes and decisions. While data can contribute to original social insights, at the same time numerous concerns have arisen, ranging from the pervasive tracking and surveillance, to ownership monopolies that restrict access and control for data analysis, and production. In order to address these concerns, people are engaging in alternative practices of production, ownership and data analysis. Through these practices they are attempting to challenge dominant data regimes by becoming active in the creation of alternative practices and infrastructures. New data democracies are emerging. The Citizen Data project seeks to understand them in order to identify changing formations of citizenship, and to build more effective relations to data.
Through the CamPo funding initiative, this pilot research project investigates citizen data practices as constituting a crucial movement toward greater public participation in social, technological, political issues. This research collaboration across the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge and the médialab at Sciences Po is situated at the intersection of humanities and social science approaches, and is informed by the broader disciplines of sociology, science and technology studies, design, digital studies, and environmental studies.
By attending to the social and cultural aspects of citizen data and environmental data we investigate how data is collected, to whom data is valuable, how citizens challenge data regimes, and how this informs practices of citizenship. By working across theoretical, practical and policy-oriented engagements, the project analyzes how citizens continuously produce data through their digital exchanges, as well as how citizens are changing existing dynamics by generating their own data by producing new public goods and informational commons.