1st Edition

Decolonizing Data Algorithms and Society

Edited By Michael Filimowicz Copyright 2023
    80 Pages
    by Routledge

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    This book focuses on the values and effects that are operational in data technologies as they sustain colonial and imperialist legacies while also highlighting strategies for resistance to autocratic regimes and pathways towards decolonizing efforts.

    Systems and schemes for databases and automated data flow processing often contain implicitly Westernized, autocratic or even imperialist features, but can also be appropriated for resistance and revolt. Algorithms are not strictly mathematical but also embody cultural constructs. Values circulate in systems along with labels and quantities. This entails more critically reflective data practices whether in government, academia, industry or the civic sphere. The volume covers a critique of the data colonialism thesis which frames computer science as a colonizing science that uses data to classify and govern us, an alternate framing of metadata as ‘data near data’ to challenge seemingly neutral technical terms, and a case study of the use of social media platforms in the 2018 Sudanese uprising.

    Scholars and students from many backgrounds, as well as policy makers, journalists and the general reading public will find a multidisciplinary approach to questions posed by data decolonization research from the fields of Communication and Digital Media studies.

    1 Notes on the Historiography of Data Colonialism
    Ulises A. Mejias

    2 Metadata Is Not Data About Data
    Kyle Parry

    3 Social Media Use in the Sudanese Uprising, 2018: Mediating Civilian–Military Discourse
    Mustafa Taha


    Michael Filimowicz is Senior Lecturer in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) at Simon Fraser University. He has a background in computer-mediated communications, audiovisual production, new media art and creative writing. His research develops new multimodal display technologies and forms, exploring novel form factors across different application contexts including gaming, immersive exhibitions and simulations.