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Thinking through the databody

Anders Kristian Munk, Anders Koed Madsen, Mathieu Jacomy

Publications – Book


Data sprints have emerged as a popular way to involve stakeholders in  datawork. In this chapter we discuss what it takes to turn a sprint into  a productive situation of inquiry (in the sense of Dewey, 1938). We  argue that sprint organizers must work actively to counteract an  otherwise docile setting where the preference for agreement between  datasets and the expectations of participants is a constant risk. This  produces what we call the “sprinter’s dilemma”: a situation where sprint  participants must at once be excited enough about the potentials of new  methods to meet and collaborate, and at the same time be purposely  frustrated and willing to accept a reversal of the direction of inquiry.  Whereas sprints are initially justified by a belief in the ability of  data to solve certain pre-defined problems, they are eventually at their  most productive when the nature of these problems becomes the subject  of collective scrutiny through engagements with data.