How do data come to matter? Living and becoming with personal data

Deborah Lupton

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    139 Citations (Scopus)
    67 Downloads (Pure)


    Humans have become increasingly datafied with the use of digital technologies that generate information with and about their bodies and everyday lives. The onto-epistemological dimensions of human–data assemblages and their relationship to bodies and selves have yet to be thoroughly theorised. In this essay, I draw on key perspectives espoused in feminist materialism, vital materialism and the anthropology of material culture to examine the ways in which these assemblages operate as part of knowing, perceiving and sensing human bodies. I draw particularly on scholarship that employs organic metaphors and concepts of vitality, growth, making, articulation, composition and decomposition. I show how these metaphors and concepts relate to and build on each other, and how they can be applied to think through humans’ encounters with their digital data. I argue that these theoretical perspectives work to highlight the material and embodied dimensions of human–data assemblages as they grow and are enacted, articulated and incorporated into everyday lives
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-11
    Number of pages11
    JournalBig Data and Society
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2018


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