Datafication, dataism and dataveillance: Big Data between scientific paradigm and ideology

Jose van Dijck


Metadata and data have become a regular currency for citizens to pay for their communication services and security—a trade-off that has nestled into the comfort zone of most people. This article deconstructs the ideological grounds of datafication. Datafication is rooted in problematic ontological and epistemological claims. As part of a larger social media logic, it shows characteristics of a widespread secular belief. Dataism, as this conviction is called, is so successful because masses of people — naively or unwittingly — trust their personal information to corporate platforms. The notion of trust becomes more problematic because people’s faith is extended to other public institutions (e.g. academic research and law enforcement) that handle their (meta)data. The interlocking of government, business, and academia in the adaptation of this ideology makes us want to look more critically at the entire ecosystem of connective media.


Big Data; surveillance; Prism; social media; metadata

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