Book ID: CBB981384434

How We Became Our Data: A Genealogy of the Informational Person (2019)


Koopman, Colin (Author)

University of Chicago Press

Publication Date: 2019
Physical Details: 272
Language: English

We are now acutely aware, as if all of the sudden, that data matters enormously to how we live. How did information come to be so integral to what we can do? How did we become people who effortlessly present our lives in social media profiles and who are meticulously recorded in state surveillance dossiers and online marketing databases? What is the story behind data coming to matter so much to who we are? In How We Became Our Data, Colin Koopman excavates early moments of our rapidly accelerating data-tracking technologies and their consequences for how we think of and express our selfhood today. Koopman explores the emergence of mass-scale record keeping systems like birth certificates and social security numbers, as well as new data techniques for categorizing personality traits, measuring intelligence, and even racializing subjects. This all culminates in what Koopman calls the “informational person” and the “informational power” we are now subject to. The recent explosion of digital technologies that are turning us into a series of algorithmic data points is shown to have a deeper and more turbulent past than we commonly think. Blending philosophy, history, political theory, and media theory in conversation with thinkers like Michel Foucault, Jürgen Habermas, and Friedrich Kittler, Koopman presents an illuminating perspective on how we have come to think of our personhood—and how we can resist its erosion.

Reviewed By

Review Hallam Stevens (2021) Review of "How We Became Our Data: A Genealogy of the Informational Person". American Historical Review (pp. 723-725). unapi

Review Ian J. Davidson (2020) Review of "How We Became Our Data: A Genealogy of the Informational Person". Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences (pp. 138-140). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Weiner, Amir
Rahi-Tamm, Aigi
Castiel, Luis David
Wanden-Berghe, Carmina
Sanz-Valero, Javier
Jan Ploeger
Science, Technology and Human Values
Social Studies of Science
The Bridge: Journal of the National Academy of Engineering
Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History
História, Ciências, Saúde---Manguinhos
The Journal of Transport History
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Amsterdam University Press
University of Nebraska Press
Data collection; methods
Technoscience; science and technology studies
Big data
Information technology
Technology and society
Luud Schimmelpennink
Great Britain
Soviet Union
21st century
20th century, late
20th century
19th century

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