Our emerging project definition of ‘big data’ is data that is incrementally larger than anything people have had to deal with before, in a given field.
— Lynette Taylor (2013) “Big Data in the Developing World”
“Raw Data” is both an oxymoron and a bad idea.
— Geoffrey C. Bowker, Memory practices in the Sciences
A simple twitter search for the #data hashtag today will provide the user with a real-time glimpse of the evolving nature of data and its social ramifications. “Big”, “semantic”, “open” and “mobile”, are only some of the conditions of data today. After interacting with these terms, it quickly becomes clear that data does not appear to be neutral nor natural and that, as a cultural construct, the study of data requires new critical approaches to chart and explore its human and social implications.
In this sense, the book “Raw Data” is an Oxymoron (2013) recently published by MIT Press and edited by Lisa Gitelman — Professor of English and Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University — could not be more timely. The book contains “eight episodes in the history of data” by a number of renowned scholars concerned not only with the digital, but also the pre-digital condition of data. The introduction to the book, written by Gitelman and Virginia Jackson recognizes that “the new millenium has arrived as the era of Big Data”, and that there is “a seismic shift in the contemporary conception and use — the sheer existence — of so much data” (2). This new era requires critical explorations on the generation, protection and interpretation of data (12).
— View full post here.
The promise of cultural networks in Latin America: towards a research framework for the study of region-specific cultural network ecosystems
Latin America exhibits a particular regional ecology of cultural networks, characterized by a richness and diversity in network experiences. However, the lack of systematized information regarding these formations, together with the unstable and multivocal nature of the term “culture” and the network form suggests the need for new critical approaches. This paper presents a research framework for the study of region-specific cultural network ecosystems. The framework addresses an emerging politics of relationality among arts and cultural organizations and the processes through which these groups perceive and construct new notions of togetherness, as they attempt to move past old practices of grassroots governance. Three case studies of cultural networks in Latin America are used to illustrate how cultural networks function as domains for social action, vehicles for the construction of “futurity” and meaning structures that engineer new social relations. This paper considers key artefacts in the study of cultural networks, and presents transdisciplinarity as a pedagogical form employed by cultural networks in an effort to learn autonomously and share critical practices today.
This is a post I wrote about “The promise of open data and the current ambiguity of the concept of open government”, referring to an excellent article by Yu, Harlan, & Robinson, David G. (2012). First in a series of posts I will write about the nature of technologically mediated “openness” in governmental practices. The original article is here and posted below (in Spanish). Continue reading
Right before 2012, Tándem GCD, a peruvian think-tank I am part of, published a document called “Hacia una nueva generación de políticas culturales: 11 retos para el gobierno de Ollanta Humala” (Towards a new generation of cultural policies: 11 challenges for the government of Ollanta Humala).
Download the document (12 pages in Spanish) below:
En el 2010, a través de la Ley 29565 – Ley de creación del Ministerio de Cultura – el Estado peruano optó por elevar el rango de la institucionalidad cultural dentro de la administración pública. Sin embargo, durante el gobierno de Alan García la decisión no vino acompañada de un esfuerzo por transitar hacia una nueva generación de políticas culturales. Las artes y la cultura continuaron siendo abordadas mediante enfoques conservadores y patrimonialistas, con presupuestos exiguos, una reducida planificación, amplio personalismo y muy escasa descentralización. Continue reading