Special Issue Call for Papers: Critical Big Data Studies

Guest Editor: Iulian Vamanu, University of Iowa

Big data and the methods and practices it has generated have captured the attention of scholars and practitioners in governmental agencies, industries and the professions. While researchers have sensed opportunities for scientific study (both research on and research driven by big data), practitioners have identified big data’s potential for creating new business and governance models, given improved prediction power. Moreover, the possibility of compiling big data for social purposes has begun to exert rhetorical impact on discussions of public policy. Literature on these trends is contentious – some authors have shown understandable enthusiasm, while others approach big data with a highly critical eye. The latter group has focused on worrisome ethical implications of big data practices, e.g., threats to privacy by generalized surveillance, ambiguity with respect to data ownership, consolidation of bias and social inequity through algorithm categories, as well as an increasing asymmetry of power between people and the state (Andrejevic 2014; Cukier & Mayer-Schönberger 2013; Ekbia et al. 2015; Mai 2016; Mayer-Schönberger & Cukier 2013; Mittelstadt & Floridi 2016; Siemens 2013).

In this context, the Poroi Journal offers a critical vantage from which scholars may explore the impact of big data in the academy and society more broadly.

Bringing treatment of big data as itself a form of inquiry together with critical media studies, library and information science, information ethics, and social theory approaches to big data as an object of analysis, this issue poses questions about the stakes, scales, and content of this particular data form and practice.

We seek conceptual, empirical or mixed-method papers that explore big data from a critical perspective. Questions of interest include (but are not limited to) the following: What makes big data big? What are some of the differences between big data and related forms such as survey data? Who has maintained control over conditions of the production and management of this data and through what channels? How are universities increasingly finding themselves turning to data even as scholars remain critical of its circulations and applications, and with what resulting contestations and rhetorical impacts for students, teachers, and the polis? What does research on big data look like?

Proposals (max. 250 words) should be sent to the Guest Editor:

Proposal Deadline: December 30, 2018

Notification of Acceptance: January 15, 2019

Submission Deadline: February 28, 2019

Reviews Returned: March 31, 2019

Revised Paper Deadline: April 15, 2019

Anticipated Publication Date: May, 2019