Article ID: CBB779695946

Databases and Doppelgängers: New Articulations of Power (2018)


This article explores the power and efficacy of databases as part of the turn to intensive datafication in contemporary life in which we are all enfolded within a datafied milieu: a catalogued and curated data assemblage comprising aspects of our life. This assemblage of people, processes, and things is described as having a generative power—data power—producing not the "one" profiled individual, but the many multiple proxies out of the data assemblage. I reimagine the profiled individual through the literary figure of the doppelgänger: a data doppelgänger that gestures to difference and repetition and all that is ambiguously changeable within digital culture. Thinking with the data doppelgänger to interrogate the profiling apparatus enables a more complex understanding of data power beyond panoptic metaphors that ground the subject in descriptive and spectral terms rather than performative simulations. To illustrate aspects of the contemporary profiling apparatus, I briefly explore the troubling relationship between Facebook and the data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica to demonstrate how effective profiling systems are when enriched with large, social datasets.

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Authors & Contributors
Włodzimierz Gogołek
Tempini, Niccolò
Leonelli, Sabina
Rui Costa
Germaine Halegoua
Weldon, Stephen P.
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine
Science, Technology and Human Values
The Bridge: Journal of the National Academy of Engineering
Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society
Social Studies of Science
Circumscribere: International Journal for the History of Science
University of Chicago Press
MIT Press
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
University of Nebraska Press
University of Chicago
Data collection; methods
Big data
Technology and society
Information technology
Computers and computing
Time Periods
21st century
20th century, late
20th century
Great Britain

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