Data Loss: Theorizing Digital Disappearance and Remains

Publikation: KonferencebidragKonferenceabstrakt til konferenceForskning


A burgeoning literature on the politics of big data has emerged in the last decade, popularizing concepts such as ‘surveillance capitalism’, ‘algorithmic societies’, ‘datafication’ and ‘data-driven societies’. This literature is premised on the enormous production and retention of data, in a manner so pervasive that scholars have termed this the ‘Zettabyte Era’.

If the ability to gather and accumulate data is unprecedented, however, so is the scope of today’s data losses. Some of these losses are intentional and take the form of physical data destruction, planned obsolescence and closure of social media platforms. Others are caused by failures or accidents, e.g. fires and flooding. And many data losses also arise from mundane practices, often below the threshold of perception. To claim that digital societies ‘do not forget’ thus risks neglecting loss as an integral dynamic of any technological paradigm shift.

Mobilizing critical data studies and cultural theories of the archive this talk explores instances of data loss to argue that digital knowledge infrastructures are conditioned by, and generative of, the politics of data loss. Rather than conceptualizing loss as a purely negative event, however, the talk offers a theoretical framework for data loss as both productive and political.
Antal sider1
StatusUdgivet - 2022
BegivenhedDigital Humanities Congress 2022 - University of Sheffield, Sheffield, Storbritannien
Varighed: 8 sep. 202210 sep. 2022
Konferencens nummer: 5


KonferenceDigital Humanities Congress 2022
LokationUniversity of Sheffield