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Datafied Living: The Everyday of Datafication

Sun, May 27, 15:30 to 16:45, Hilton Old Town, Floor: M, Mozart I

Session Submission Type: Panel


Datafied living is an emerging new ‘way of life’ (Williams, 1971) that is based on datafication. Datafication means the representation of social life through computerized data (Schäfer & van Es, 2017; van Dijck, 2014). This becomes possible as more and more media and media business models rely on algorithmic processing of data extracted from everyday life Besides ‘tools’ of communication, digital devices and platforms also become generators of data. Investigating ‘living’ entails not focusing on a single practice of media use but rather researching the range of everyday practices overall. In times of deep mediatization (Couldry / Hepp 2017), ‘living’ is deeply entangled with digital media and their infrastructures, which continuously produce, assess and communicate data back and forth. Therefore, datafied living means that everyday practices are related to data in a constitutive way. There are already many examples for this in everyday life. Referring to such examples, the panel will reflect on datafied living from multiple perspectives that each take a critical point of view, so as to get a sense of this transformation’s complexity. More specifically, we will discuss five different dimensions of datafied living: shopping, the metricated mindset, credit scoring, data forging and imaginations of datafied living in times of deep mediatization. In the first paper, Joseph Turow (University of Pennsylvania, USA) analyzes how the multifaceted retailing activities are reshaping the ways companies construct shoppers, and creating a new environment of discrimination through which shoppers will be purchasing products. The second paper presented by Göran Bolin (Södertörn University, Sweden) reflects on how the deeper penetration of algorithmically generated metrics into our life-worlds produces a new environment in which we live. Examining the Chinese Sesame Credit – one of the most prominent prototypes of its sort – Alison Hearn (University of Western Ontario, Canada) discusses the potential effects of living with credit scoring. Andrew Iliadis (Temple University, USA) investigates ‘data forging’ to provide a critical assessment of ‘datasmith’ ontologies, ontologists, and ontology-making practices. Finally, Nick Couldry, Andreas Hepp and Jun Yu (LSE, UK, and University of Bremen, Germany) reflect the different imaginations of datafied living: on the one hand, the active imagination of pioneer communities (the Maker and Quantifed Self movements) and on the other hand, the repressed imagination of the facts of data collection in public ‘big data’ discourse. Taken together, the five papers offer diversified perspectives for both understanding and critically assessing emergent forms of datafied living.

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