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

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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.

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Author Biography

Jose van Dijck, Professor of Comparative Mediastudies, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

José van Dijck is a professor of Comparative Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam, where she also served as the Dean of Humanities. She has a PhD from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and previously taught at the Universities of Groningen and Maastricht. Her visiting appointments include MIT, UC Santa Cruz, Concordia University Montreal, and the University of Technology, Sydney. Her work covers a wide range of topics in media theory, media technologies, social media, television and culture. She is the author of six books, three co-edited volumes and some one hundred articles. Her latest book on social media, titled The Culture of Connectivity. A Critical History of Social Media, is published by Oxford University Press (2013).