Data and Society
Data is drastically changing how we function, both as individuals and as societies. An abundance of data is produced in every sector of society. Data is a product of every human activity, from counting steps or calories on an individual level, to measuring societal aspects such as level of education and employment. The fundamental impact of this development gives rise to the need to ask question like: How do we use this data? For what purpose, and who benefits from it? This course will teach you how to begin answering such questions.
Drawing from Science and Technology Studies and Critical Data Studies, you will be introduced to the concepts to understand the constructed nature of data. You will engage in exploring data through their collection, analysis, visualisation, and interpretation. You will develop the skills needed to connect the construction of data as a highly technological practice to broad social questions of structural inequalities, evidence, and knowledge. You will examine how datafication produced by digital technologies creates and structures society, and maintains certain asymmetries and power relations.
This course addresses master's students from the social sciences and the humanities who wish to develop skills in relation to data processing and visualisation while maintaining and furthering a critical mode of inquiry into practices that affect our life as individuals and society. It also speaks to students with technical backgrounds who wish to develop a more critical understanding of the social and political consequences of data-driven societies today.