Imagining Citizens as More than Data Subjects: A Methodography of a Collaborative Design Workshop on Co-producing Official Statistics

Grommé, Francisca and Ruppert, Evelyn. 2021. Imagining Citizens as More than Data Subjects: A Methodography of a Collaborative Design Workshop on Co-producing Official Statistics. Science & Technology Studies, 34(3), pp. 103-124. ISSN 2243-4690 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The article presents a methodography of a collaborative design workshop conducted with national and international statisticians. The workshop was part of an ethnographic research project on innovation in European official statistics. It aimed to bring academic researchers and statisticians together to collaborate on the design of app prototypes that imagine citizens as co-producers of official statistics rather than only data subjects. However, the objective was not to settle on an end product but to see if relations to citizens could be re-imagined. Through a methodography composed of two ethnographic narratives, we analyse whether and how a collaborative design workshop brought about imaginings of citizens as co-producers. To retrospectively analyse the workshop, we draw on feminist and material-semiotic takes on ‘friction’ as characteristic of collaboration. ‘Friction’, we suggest, can enlarge the repertoire of collaborative speculative practice beyond notions of rupture or consensus. Finally, we suggest that this analysis demonstrates the potential of methodography for opening up and reflecting on method in STS through eliciting the possibilities of collaboration.

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We acknowledge that the research leading to this publication received funding from the European Research Council under
the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007-2013) / ERC Grant Agreement no. 615588 (Principal Investigator, Evelyn Ruppert, Goldsmiths, University of London).


co-production; ethnography; methodography; citizen data; official statistics; big data

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18 June 2021Accepted
3 August 2021Published Online
15 September 2021Published

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29 Jun 2021 09:50

Last Modified:

24 Sep 2021 13:47

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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