BookApril 24 2024

Keywords of the Datafied State

Jenna Burrell
Ranjit Singh
Patrick Davison
et al.

Produced in collaboration with global scholars and edited by Jenna Burrell, Ranjit Singh, and Patrick Davison, Keywords of the Datafied State is a collection of essays on concepts that are central to understanding the relationship between government and technology, and how it differs across geographies.

Underlying this collection is the conviction that words matter. They matter because they often become a key to understanding practices. Keywords for any practice are words that may have broad or generic meanings but take on a certain specificity within the context of that practice. The practices of datafication in organizing the state are no different.

The collection represents views that span the globe to highlight that the datafied state does not have a singular form. Accordingly, several keywords are defined by multiple authors, foregrounding different themes and examples and disrupting the assumption that these words could or should have one single, conclusive definition.

This project grew from a desire to explore how algorithms become part of and influence state functions, how trust and doubt in public sector data infrastructures are shaped — and what the implications are for democratic practice. We hope readers see Keywords of the Datafied State as a resource for gathering their own communities to engage with the ongoing emergent challenges of contending with the datafied state, and as an invitation to explore which keywords matter most to them.

Suggested citation: Burrell, Jenna, Ranjit Singh, and Patrick Davison, eds. Keywords of the Datafied State. Data & Society Research Institute.