Big Data from the South(s): Beyond data universalism

Milan, S., & Trerè, E. (2019)

Big Data from the South(s): Beyond data universalism

Stefania Milan, Emiliano Trerè

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Abstract

This article introduces the tenets of a theory of datafication of and in the Souths. It calls for a de-Westernization of critical data studies, in view of promoting a reparation to the cognitive injustice that fails to recognize non-mainstream ways of knowing the world through data. It situates the “Big Data from the South” research agenda as an epistemological, ontological, and ethical program and outlines five conceptual operations to shape this agenda. First, it suggests moving past the “universalism” associated with our interpretations of datafication. Second, it advocates understanding the South as a composite and plural entity, beyond the geographical connotation (i.e., “global South”). Third, it postulates a critical engagement with the decolonial approach. Fourth, it argues for the need to bring agency to the core of our analyses. Finally, it suggests embracing the imaginaries of datafication emerging from the Souths, foregrounding empowering ways of thinking data from the margins.

Cite as

Milan, S., & Trerè, E. (2019). Big Data from the South(s): Beyond data universalism. Television & New Media, 20 (4), 319-335, https://doi.org/10.1177/1527476419837739.

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