Datafied Knowledge Production: Introduction to the Special Theme

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Framing datafication as new form of knowledge production has become a trope in both academic and commercial contexts. This special theme examines and ultimately rejects the familiar grand claims of datafication, to instead pay attention to emergent conversations that seek to take a more nuanced stock of the status and nature of datafied knowledge production. The articles in this special theme thus engage with datafied knowledge production through elaborate explorations of how datafied knowledge depends on the contexts of its production and the forms of knowledge production that precede it in those contexts. Our basic argument is that while the resources, material features and analytical operations involved in datafied knowledge production may be different, many fundamental concerns about epistemology, ontology and methods remain relevant to understand what shapes it. We still need to understand and explicate the assumptions, operations and consequences of emergent forms of knowledge production. If datafied knowledge production is neither a clean revolutionary break with past forms of knowledge production nor a balloon of pure hype, the articles in this special theme ask: what does the phenomenon of datafied knowledge production look like? Which digital and datafied infrastructures support its future development? And what potentialities and limits do such forms of analysis and knowledge production contain?
Original languageEnglish
JournalBig Data & Society
Issue number2
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

Published online: 27. September 2019


  • Black box
  • Datafication
  • Infrastructure
  • Knowledge production
  • Literacy
  • Transformation

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