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[liberationtech] CfP: Big Data, Big Questions, or, Accounting for Big Data

Yosem Companys companys at
Wed Aug 15 01:08:07 PDT 2012

Mary L. Gray and Kate Crawford are kicking off a special section for IJoC
that takes a critical look at big data: from the disciplinary perspectives
and methods, to issues of access and epistemology.

*Call for Papers
“Big Data, Big Questions, or, Accounting for Big Data” *
International Journal of Communication

Guest Editors:
Kate Crawford
Microsoft Research
University of New South Wales

Mary L. Gray
Microsoft Research
Indiana University

Larry Gross
University of Southern California

Previously isolated data sets, from social media and demographic surveys to
city maps and urban planning documents, are now routinely interlinked.
Combining separate, often disparate, multi-terabyte sets of information
reframes our capacity to see into the behaviors of — and relationships
between — people, institutions and things. Researchers in fields as varied
as computer science, geography, sociology, marketing, biology, economics,
among many others, use the term “big data” to capture a wide range of
activities revolving around accessing and analyzing these vast quantities
of information. What are the implications of big data as a cultural,
technological and analytic phenomenon? What are the practices of big data,
the underlying assumptions, and ways of modeling the world? Who gets access
to it, and what effects does this produce?

This special section will offer a range of critical engagements with the
issues surrounding big data and its related models of knowledge. We seek
scholarly articles from diverse fields, and a wide range of theoretical and
methodological approaches: including media studies, communication,
anthropology, digital humanities, computational and social sciences,
cultural geography, history, and critical cultural studies.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
What is the history (or histories) of big data and its related practices?
What are the epistemological ramifications of big data?
How can computational and social sciences use big data in
cross-disciplinary work? What are the strengths and pitfalls of new hybrids?
What are the ethics of big data use, be it in city management, social media
research, or political campaigning?
Who gets access to big data? What are the issues of class, race, gender,
sexuality, religion and geography?
What are the labour politics of big data research?

The International Journal of Communication is an open access journal ( All accepted articles will be published online. The
anticipated publication date for this Special Section is August 2013.

Manuscripts should conform to the IJoC author guidelines. See

Send your abstract, title of your paper and a list of five potential
reviewers with their titles and e-mail addresses by October 1, 2012 to
IJOCbigdata at Your suggested reviewers will help streamline the
peer-review process.

If you have any questions, please contact Kate Crawford at
kate at or Mary Gray at mlg at
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