Christian Pentzold

Approaching datafication through discourse means to engage with the eminent reality-making power of communication, deliberation, and imagination. It foregrounds the work that goes into rendering datafication a socially relevant phenomenon and problem.

The Special Section we sets out from the idea that in modern societies the public understanding of technology is largely driven by discourses in the media and among policymakers and the imaginaries they evoke. It invites us to look at what datafication is or should be for a variety of publics and speakers and how they discuss, criticize, or envision the collection and use of data at different places, speaking from different situations, and at different times. That way, the Special Theme does not merely interrogate the status quo of big data analytics. Rather, discourses also involve prospective ambitions and normative stances about potential, desirable, or unwanted innovations.