Emiliano Treré

Emiliano Treré

Cardiff University
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Emiliano Treré is a Reader in Data Agency and Media Ecologies at Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Culture. He is a widely cited author in digital activism, critical data studies and digital disconnection research with a focus on the Global South. He co-founded the ‘Big Data from the South’ Initiative and co-directs the Data Justice Lab. His book Hybrid Media Activism (Routledge, 2019) won the Outstanding Book Award of the ICA Interest Group ‘Activism, Communication and Social Justice’. His forthcoming book with Tiziano Bonini (MIT Press, 2023) explores algorithmic power, agency, and resistance in the platform society.

Talk Information:

Key Challenges and Dangers in the Decolonisation of Data (Studies)
August 5, 2022 | 9:00 AM

Decolonial and post-colonial theories have been embraced by critical data and artificial intelligence (AI) scholars to account for the colonial mechanisms of power that traverse contemporary data relations and explain processes of data extraction and exploitation. This area of research signals the growing significance of viewing the impact of data dynamics through the critical lens of coloniality, decolonial and post-colonial theory. However, to avoid what sociologist Leon Moosavi has called the ‘decolonial bandwagon and the dangers of intellectual decolonisation’, in this intervention I reflect on the key challenges and dangers of decolonization in relation to datafication and data studies in general. Building (among others) on Moosavi (2020), Pappas (2017) and Amrute (2019), I illustrate the difficulties in separating intellectual perspectives and traditions, the tendency to romanticize knowledge from the Global South, and the risk that coloniality may colonize all other categories of analysis of concrete injustices. I conclude highlighting the need for decolonial approaches to critically engage with these challenges and to strengthen the dialogue with other conceptual lenses in pragmatic, flexible and agile ways depending on the research context.

For further reading: Milan, S., & Treré, E. (2019). Big Data from the South(s): Beyond Data Universalism. Television & New Media, 20(4), 319–335. https://doi.org/10.1177/1527476419837739

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