How do sensing technologies and data processing techniques are redefining citizenship and public concerns?
The evolving relationship between citizens and data is a fundamental issue of our time. While data can contribute to original social insights, at the same time numerous concerns have arisen, ranging from the pervasive tracking and surveillance, to ownership monopolies that restrict access and control for data analysis, and production. In order to address these concerns, people are engaging in alternative practices of production, ownership and data analysis. Through these practices they are attempting to challenge dominant data regimes by becoming active in the creation of alternative practices and infrastructures. New data democracies are emerging. We need to understand them in order to identify changing formations of citizenship, and to build more effective relations to data.
Through the CamPo funding initiative, this pilot research project proposes to investigate citizen data practices as constituting a crucial movement toward greater public participation in social, technological, political issues. Among the wide array of issues impacted by citizen data practices, the Citizen Data project will focus on citizen-generated environmental data. The projects attend to the ways in which people become citizens through the things they do and the claims they make with environmental data. Rather than attempt to define the citizen in advance as a fixed category, we will instead scrutinise how the shifting practices and politics of citizen data generate new significant public formations for the environment as the conjunction of political, democratic and technological issues.
In its pilot phase the project tries to scrutinise the approaches of the involved partners and their extended networks through a series of participative workshops and “demos”.
Jennifer Gabrys, Chair in Media, Culture and Environment in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge