Data Politics : Worlds, Subjects, Rights book cover
1st Edition

Data Politics
Worlds, Subjects, Rights

ISBN 9781138053267
Published March 14, 2019 by Routledge
304 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Data has become a social and political issue because of its capacity to reconfigure relationships between states, subjects, and citizens. This book explores how data has acquired such an important capacity and examines how critical interventions in its uses in both theory and practice are possible.

Data and politics are now inseparable: data is not only shaping our social relations, preferences and life chances but our very democracies. Expert international contributors consider political questions about data and the ways it provokes subjects to govern themselves by making rights claims. Concerned with the things (infrastructures of servers, devices, and cables) and language (code, programming, and algorithms) that make up cyberspace, this book demonstrates that without understanding these conditions of possibility it is impossible to intervene in or to shape data politics.

Aimed at academics and postgraduate students interested in political aspects of data, this volume will also be of interest to experts in the fields of internet studies, international studies, Big Data, digital social sciences and humanities. The Open Access version of this book, available at, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Data Politics

Didier Bigo, Engin Isin and Evelyn Ruppert

PART 1: Conditions of Possibility of Data Politics

Chapter 2: Knowledge Infrastructures under Siege: Climate Data as Memory, Truce, and Target

Paul Edwards

Chapter 3: Against Infrasomatisation: Towards a Critical Theory of Algorithms

David Berry

Chapter 4: Surveillance Capitalism, Surveillance Culture and Data Politics

David Lyon

PART 2: Worlds

Chapter 5: Mutual Entanglement and Complex Sovereignty in Cyberspace

Ronald J. Deibert and Louis W. Pauly

Chapter 6: Digital Data and the Transnational Intelligence Space

Didier Bigo and Laurent Bonelli

Chapter 7: From Fake to Junk News, the Data Politics of Online Virality

Tommaso Venturini

Chapter 8: Seeing Like Big Tech: Security Assemblages, Technology, and the Future of State Bureaucracy

Félix Tréguer

PART 3: Subjects

Chapter 9: Towards ‘data justice’: Bridging Anti-Surveillance and Social Justice Activism Lina Dencik, Arne Hintz and Jonathan Cable

Chapter 10: Theses on Automation and Labour

Brett Neilson and Ned Rossiter

Chapter 11: Data’s Empire: Postcolonial Data Politics

Engin Isin and Evelyn Ruppert

PART 4: Rights

Chapter 12: The Right to Data Oblivion

Giovanni Ziccardi

Chapter 13: Data Citizens: How to Reinvent Rights

Jennifer Gabrys

Chapter 14: Data Rights: Claiming Privacy Rights through International Institutions

Elspeth Guild


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Didier Bigo is Professor of War Studies at King’s College London and Research Professor at Sciences-Po, CERI Paris. He is editor of the quarterly journal, Cultures & Conflicts, and was the founder and co-editor of International Political Sociology, published by International Studies Association. His work concerns sociology of surveillance, policing, and borders. He co-edited Transversal Lines (with Tugba Basaran, Emmanuel-Pierre Guittet and R. B. J. Walker, 2016) as part of the Routledge Studies in International Political Sociology.

Engin Isin is Professor in International Politics at Queen Mary University of London, UK and University of London,  Institute in Paris (ULIP). Isin’s work concerns politics of the changing figure of the citizen as a political subject. He has authored Cities Without Citizens (1992), Citizenship and Identity (with Patricia Wood, 1999), Being Political (2002), Citizens Without Frontiers (2012), and Being Digital Citizens (with Evelyn Ruppert, 2015). He has edited Acts of Citizenship (2008) with Greg Nielsen, Enacting European Citizenship (2013) with Michael Saward, and Routledge Handbook of Global Citizenship Studies (2014) with Peter Nyers. His latest book is Citizenship after Orientalism: Transforming Political Theory (2015).

Evelyn Ruppert is Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. She studies how digital technologies and the data they generate can powerfully shape and have consequences for how people are known and governed and how they understand themselves as political subjects, that is, citizens with rights to data. Evelyn is PI of an ERC funded project, Peopling Europe: How data make a people (ARITHMUS; 2014–19). She is Founding and Editor-in-Chief of the SAGE open access journal, Big Data & Society. Recent books are Being Digital Citizens (with Engin Isin, 2015) and Modes of Knowing (with John Law, 2016).