CALL FOR PARTICIPATION: CONTESTED DATA: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE GIVENS AREN’T TAKEN
On March 6, 2020, Data & Society will host a workshop in New York City on how data and data infrastructures lose their legitimacy. Participation in this event is limited; those who are interested in participating should apply by November 25.
Data & Society workshops enable deep dives with a broad community of interdisciplinary researchers into topics at the core of Data & Society’s concerns. They’re designed to maximize scholarly thinking about the evolving and socially important issues surrounding data-driven technologies.
Workshop participants will be asked to read 2-3 full papers in advance of the event and prepare comments for intensive discussion. Some participants will be asked to be discussants of papers, where they will lead the conversation and engage the room. Authors will not present their work, but rather participate in critical discussion with the assembled group about the paper, with the explicit intent of making the work stronger and more interdisciplinary.
Contested Data: What Happens When the Givens Aren’t Taken
The word “data” derives from the Latin for the givens. And though we often think about data as something to be gathered, hoarded, culled, or stripped, the reason we want it is so that it can be our givens. Data provide the basis for our analyses, valuations, decisions, or arguments. Today, data seem ever more important. Many private and public actors push for data-driven medicine or data-driven policymaking, with a trajectory toward data-driven everything. Data must train the machine learning systems and AIs that hire and fire, parole and police, price and predict.
What if people won’t accept the givens? How and why do people refuse to accept data, and the infrastructures that provide data, as valid for future action? What are the larger social, political, or economic consequences of such a refusal?
Much important work has already been done to investigate the knowledge practices that legitimate data, a field that has grown out of earlier studies by historians, sociologists, anthropologists, statisticians, and philosophers into practices of quantification. We are learning more and more about why people trust in numbers and in data, to extend Ted Porter’s phrase.
This workshop seeks papers that come at the question of legitimation from the other direction: why don’t people trust in data, especially data that once was deemed trustworthy? Inspired by work on “agnotology” and on knowledge practices that produce doubt, we seek participants prepared to think beyond data mining to the process by which data is undermined.
The purpose of this workshop is to bring together researchers who are examining these issues from different disciplinary and analytic perspectives.
Application to participate
If you are interested in attending this workshop, you may either 1) propose a paper to be workshopped; or 2) describe how your research makes you a relevant discussant/participant.
Please note: All co-authors who are intending to attend must apply separately. They should submit the same paper abstract. If your paper is accepted, you will be allowed to send 2 authors. Additional authors will be considered as discussants/participants.
By November 25, please submit the following information via this Submittable portal:
Name, email address, affiliation, title, discipline.
Bio and headshot (used for the program if accepted).
If applying as an author, a 1-page (max) abstract of a paper you’d like to workshop.
If applying as a participant/discussant, a 1-page (max) discussion of your interests as it relates to this topic.
Bibliographic citations / links to 3 papers (yours or others) that everyone interested in this domain should read. [Optional]
Application Deadline: November 25, 2019
Selection Decisions: December 9, 2019
Revised Abstract Deadline: January 31, 2019
Full Paper Deadline: February 5, 2019
Workshop: March 6, 2019