Data Justice Stories: A Repository of Case Studies

by   David Leslie, et al.

The idea of "data justice" is of recent academic vintage. It has arisen over the past decade in Anglo-European research institutions as an attempt to bring together a critique of the power dynamics that underlie accelerating trends of datafication with a normative commitment to the principles of social justice-a commitment to the achievement of a society that is equitable, fair, and capable of confronting the root causes of injustice.However, despite the seeming novelty of such a data justice pedigree, this joining up of the critique of the power imbalances that have shaped the digital and "big data" revolutions with a commitment to social equity and constructive societal transformation has a deeper historical, and more geographically diverse, provenance. As the stories of the data justice initiatives, activism, and advocacy contained in this volume well evidence, practices of data justice across the globe have, in fact, largely preceded the elaboration and crystallisation of the idea of data justice in contemporary academic discourse. In telling these data justice stories, we hope to provide the reader with two interdependent tools of data justice thinking: First, we aim to provide the reader with the critical leverage needed to discern those distortions and malformations of data justice that manifest in subtle and explicit forms of power, domination, and coercion. Second, we aim to provide the reader with access to the historically effective forms of normativity and ethical insight that have been marshalled by data justice activists and advocates as tools of societal transformation-so that these forms of normativity and insight can be drawn on, in turn, as constructive resources to spur future transformative data justice practices.


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