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[liberationtech] CfP: 4S, "Surveillance & Big Data Mediation" (March 15)

Yosem Companys companys at
Tue Mar 5 20:26:37 PST 2013

From: Torin Monahan <torin.monahan at>, Anders Albrechtslund
<alb at>

Call for Papers (w/ apologies for cross-listing)

Surveillance and the Mediation of Big Data

4S session(s) organized by Torin Monahan and Anders Albrechtslund

4S Annual Meeting (
San Diego, CA
October 9 - 12, 2013

The “big data” paradigm signals an intensification and distribution of
algorithmic surveillance across multiple organizational and
geographical scales. More than an exponential advancement in storage
and processing capacity, big data currently operates as a fluid
metaphor for the potential of data analytics to intelligently predict
and respond to the needs of individuals and institutions. Clearly STS
inquiry could fruitfully deconstruct the technological deterministic
slant of discourses surrounding big data so that attention could be
drawn to the values being inscribed in algorithms, the profound
materiality of cloud computing, the control dimensions of pervasive
software, and the active cultivation of new subjectivities as people
come to understand themselves through their data doubles. Surveillance
is key to these processes, as the capture and processing of data is
frequently oriented toward some form of intervention or control.
Rather than viewing surveillance through big data as completely
automated or neutral processes, this panel seeks to investigate the
many forms of mediation and politics inherent in big-data

Possible areas of inquiry might include:
·      Data fusion, profiling, and prediction by security organizations.
·      The crafting of new subjectivities as individuals embrace
“quantified self” movements.
·      The social and political effects of “filter bubbles” erected by
various search platforms.
·      Gamification of interaction with customers and clients as
public and private organizations seek to capitalize on (and control)
user involvement.
·      Activist and civil-society harnessing of data repositories and
sensing devices to achieve progressive outcomes.
·      The optimization of urban infrastructures through “smart”
information technologies.
·      Health technologies used for documentation, analyses,
predictions and recommendations.

Please email titles, abstracts, and institutional affiliations to
Torin Monahan <torin.monahan at> and Anders Albrechtslund
<alb at> by March 15, 2013.

Torin Monahan, Ph.D.
Associate Editor, Surveillance & Society
Associate Professor
Dept. of Communication Studies
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
NEW BOOK: SuperVision: An Introduction to the Surveillance Society

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