Data’s empire: postcolonial data politics

Ruppert, Evelyn and Isin, Engin. 2019. Data’s empire: postcolonial data politics. In: Didier Bigo; Engin Isin and Evelyn Ruppert, eds. Data Politics: Worlds, Subjects, Rights. London: Routledge. ISBN 1138053260 [Book Section]


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Abstract or Description

The chapter examines the various ways that data captures and colonizes minds, souls, bodies and spaces and makes data subjects through practices of production, accumulation, aggregation, circulation, valuation, and interpretation. We draw attention to how these practices operate together yet differently in the metropole and postcolony and produce different data subjects. By first describing how European empires in the nineteenth century invented various data collection and analysis methods for producing colonial populations, the chapter outlines how postcolonial practices build on these imperial infrastructures and logics. Through the example of the UN’s Global Pulse initiative as an instance of postcolonial data politics, the chapter argues for decolonising data politics.

Item Type:

Book Section

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology > Centre for Study of Invention and Social Process (CSISP) [2003-2015]


29 March 2018Submitted
29 March 2019Published

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Date Deposited:

08 Oct 2018 14:21

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 17:07


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