May 7, 2019 · Reading

Special Issue: Big Data from the South

This morning I am diving into Big Data from the South(s): Beyond data universalism, the opening article for a Television & New Media special issue. I'm excited to sink my teeth into this one!

  • 'Big Data from the South(s): Beyond data universalism' (open access at
  • Data colonialism: Rethinking Big Data’s relation to the contemporary subject
  • Data epistemologies, the coloniality of power, and resistance
  • Decolonizing privacy studies
  • (Big) Data and the North-in-South: Australia’s informational imperialism and digital colonialism
  • #NiUnaMenos: Data activism from the Global South
  • Between data capitalism and data citizenship (commentary)

Excerpt: Abstract from 'Beyond data universalism':

This article introduces the tenets of a theory of datafication of and in the Souths. It calls for a de-Westernization of critical data studies, in view of promoting a reparation to the cognitive injustice that fails to recognize non-mainstream ways of knowing the world through data. It situates the “Big Data from the South” research agenda as an epistemological, ontological, and ethical program and outlines five conceptual operations to shape this agenda. First, it suggests moving past the “universalism” associated with our interpretations of datafication. Second, it advocates understanding the South as a composite and plural entity, beyond the geographical connotation (i.e., “global South”). Third, it postulates a critical engagement with the decolonial approach. Fourth, it argues for the need to bring agency to the core of our analyses. Finally, it suggests embracing the imaginaries of datafication emerging from the Souths, foregrounding empowering ways of thinking data from the margins.

Finally, a note from the editors on collaborating with this community!

To continue the conversation about Southern and resistant epistemologies of datafication (well beyond the 'Global South'!), visit the webpage of the Big Data from the South Initiative, check out the multilingual blog (and consider to contribute to it!), and join the dedicated mailing-list.

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