Big Data: Issues for an International Political Sociology of Data Practices

Anders Koed Madsen, Mikkel Flyverbom, Martin Hilbert, Evelyn Ruppert

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    The claim that big data can revolutionize strategy and governance in the context of international relations is increasingly hard to ignore. Scholars of international political sociology have mainly discussed this development through the themes of security and surveillance. The aim of this paper is to outline a research agenda that can be used to raise a broader set of sociological and practice-oriented questions about the increasing datafication of international relations and politics. First, it proposes a way of conceptualizing big data that is broad enough to open fruitful investigations into the emerging use of big data in these contexts. This conceptualization includes the identification of three moments contained in any big data practice. Second, it suggests a research agenda built around a set of subthemes that each deserve dedicated scrutiny when studying the interplay between big data and international relations along these moments. Through a combination of these moments and subthemes, the paper suggests a roadmap for an international political sociology of data practices.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInternational Political Sociology
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)275-296
    Number of pages22
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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