Book: Feminist data studies

cropped-cropped-shift-whitelaser02-640x426-600x399.jpgFeminist Data Studies: big data critique and social justice (SAGE Publications, under contract) is Fotopoulou’s second book. The book demonstrates how the discipline and practices of media and communication studies, and critical data studies can be enriched by the theoretical and methodological projects of Feminist Science and Technology Studies, Postcolonial Science and Technology Studies, Disability, and Queer Studies. As the social issues that data-based systems and technologies (such as big data, wearable technologies and AI) pose are increasingly relevant to social justice, there is great need for more focused and explicit critique that encompasses the so far relatively invisible matters of gender, race, sexuality and postcoloniality. Organised around main thematic areas, the book examines pertinent examples, and discusses key theoretical concepts that can help researchers in data and society to align their work with other traditions critical of technoscience.

Feminist data studies poses key questions about what counts as knowledge, while it examines the political processes through which certain populations and bodies are deemed as valuable producers of ‘raw data’. With a commitment to social justice, through work that does not only register exclusions, but ultimately tries to change them, researchers and scholars who adopt a feminist data studies approach can aim to have transformative impact in society, and particularly benefit marginalised communities, for example when they actively demystify data analytics for lay users.

There have been considerable publications within the broader field of critical data studies, and digital media, some of which touch upon gender issues. However, this book is unique because it demarcates an evolving field, while it approaches issues of gender from a cross disciplinary perspective. Hence it brings a number of fields in conversation with each other, while it advances this scholarship.

Scope of the book

Datafication impacts all aspects of social, political and cultural life, but the selection of the critical areas covered in Feminist Data Studies is guided by the question of what these developments mean for social groups that have historically been disadvantaged due to gender, race, class, age, and ability. These themes include: dataveillance, privacy and profiling; informatisation of the body; data practices and vulnerable social groups such as children, patients and older people; media/data literacy, critical pedagogy and data; visual culture and data/ feminist data visualisation; research methods and the praxis of feminist data studies. Through these themes the book examines structures of inequality beyond gender, taking an intersectional perspective in its feminist approach to data studies.

Organised around key thematic and practice areas, the book maps the emerging theoretical and practice field of Feminist Data Studies, as it examines case studies and examples, and provides a distinctive resource for scholars and researchers working in data and society (e.g. in critical data studies, digital culture and communication, internet studies, media and cultural studies, science and technology studies, data-driven social sciences and digital humanities, data activism/data justice), which additionally helps them align their work with other critical traditions of technoscience.