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Ethnography for a data-saturated world
Hannah Knox and Dawn Nafus

data relations thus not only raise questions about how to better know and act upon the world, but also shed light on the very foundations of what we consider knowledge to be. This book starts from the conceit that attention to digital data opens up the possibility of interrogating more broadly the presuppositions, techniques, methods and practices out of which claims about the value and purpose of knowledge gain power. To talk of digital data is to talk of one facet of a broader terrain of knowledge production, of which numerical or digital data is only one part

in Ethnography for a data-saturated world
Editors: Hannah Knox and Dawn Nafus

Data is not just the stuff of social scientific method; it is the stuff of everyday life. The presence of digital data in an ever widening range of human relationships profoundly unsettles notions of expertise for both ethnographers and data scientists alike. This collection situates digital data in broader knowledge-production practices. It asks about the kinds of social worlds that data scientists are creating as the profession coalesces, and looks at the contemporary possibilities available to both ethnographers and their participants for knowing, formatting and intervening in the world. It shows what digital data is doing to the empirical methods that sustain claims to expertise, with a particular focus on implications for ethnography.

The contributors offer empirically grounded accounts of the cultures, infrastructures and epistemologies of data production, analysis and use. They examine the professionalisation of data science in a variety of national and transnational contexts. They look closely at specific data practices like archiving of environmental data, or claims-making about how software is produced. They also offer a glimpse into the new methodological and pedagogical possibilities for teaching and doing ethnography in a data-saturated world.

An ethnography in/of computational social science
Mette My Madsen, Anders Blok, and Morten Axel Pedersen

collaborative space of ethnographic-cum-digital data generation and analysis.1 The specific question we wish to focus on here revolves around the problem of what ‘collaboration’ between or across different disciplines might mean and entail both within and outside the academy. An extensive social scientific and STS literature pertaining to this question already exists, including work concerned with the relationship between qualitative ethnographic data and different kinds of quantitative data, whether deemed ‘digital’, ‘computational’ or not. Within the field of anthropology

in Ethnography for a data-saturated world
Adrian Mackenzie

in mid-2016, perhaps reflecting the reality that the thirty million or so other repositories were not going to add new stories to the platform. Suchman suggests that configuration always entails both composition of elements and materialising imaginaries. It takes work to get contemporary digital data and associated large numbers to do something other than augment the count of capital numbers and their platform-centred aggregates. Configurative numbers, I have suggested, is one term for prototypical enumerations and re-countings that seek to map the composition of

in Ethnography for a data-saturated world
Alison Powell

9 The data walkshop and radical bottom-up data knowledge Alison Powell How, and under what circumstances, would it be useful to produce big data from the bottom up? The assemblages that we consider to be part of the production and positioning of big data are themselves large-scale: the computing power required to deal with multiple forms of digital data, the analytics processes required to derive sensible or logical predictions, the institutional meaning-making apparatus required to create frameworks and application spaces for this data are all easier to

in Ethnography for a data-saturated world
Dawn Nafus

10 Working ethnographically with sensor data Dawn Nafus This chapter is primarily about methods. I work in Intel Labs, the research and development organisation at Intel. Since 2007, I have been asking research participants to collect digital data about themselves, and giving it back to them in forms designed to stimulate conversation. I invite participants to reflect on data as matters of concern, not matters of fact (Latour 2004), and they largely respond in this spirit. Much like the chapter from Powell (Chapter 9 above), and in the spirit of the broader turn

in Ethnography for a data-saturated world