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The Challenge of the New Data Mark Elliot, Social Sciences University of Manchester January 2013

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Presentation on theme: "The Challenge of the New Data Mark Elliot, Social Sciences University of Manchester January 2013"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Challenge of the New Data Mark Elliot, Social Sciences University of Manchester January 2013

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4 Data, data everywhere… Dramatic changes in the type and scope of data available for social research New types of data and new controllers/archives Social media data growth Commercial data New data linkage developments – New data being linked. – New forms of Combining, enhancing, fusing, linking, merging data More detail

5 Opportunities Big data and commercially owned data Strong and enriched traditional data sources: cohort studies, surveys combining attitude and physiological data.

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11 Analysing the data layer/web 3.0 represents a significant challenge. – Accounting for the links? – Accounting for contradictions? – What does sampling mean? – It might well have more in common visual image processing than orthodox data analysis.

12 Data Research Findings Policy Analysis Impact Behaviour

13 An Socio-ethical Turning Point?

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16 An Ethical Headache Access and ownership – charges and rights – Citizens and data ownership Confidentiality privacy and data protection: – lack of clarity. – Risks to third parties. Best practice: – New codes of practice? – New forms of consent?

17 Privacy/Disclosure remain important – All surveys on the topic indcate this

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19 Privacy and Disclosure “There is a close connection between our ability to control of who has access to our information and our ability to create and maintain different sorts of social relationships with different people”; Rachels(1970)

20 So Disclosure is: The mechanism by which we operate our privacy. – This rather than the information itself is why non- consensual disclosure is problematic. – Non-consensual disclosure subverts the psychologically critical process of self-disclosure.

21 And privacy is.... Critical to our the formation of our identities

22 Analysing the data layer web 3.0 represents a significant challenge. Retaining a functioning privacy is in the world of linked data is a challenge. We can do this but – It will require significant research effort and policy will

23 The Role of Identity Social Philosophy: – Identity is represented to others through self disclosure; Goffman – OTOH our identity is in part formed through our interactions with others and their representations to us; Mead

24 So joining the dots.... Privacy concerns personhood: – My/Our identity – My/Our sense of self To understand the meaning of privacy in a cultural context one must refer to processes of – Autonomy – Locus of Control

25 Identity Privacy Disclosure

26 I would argue therefore – That our data and our “selves” are intrinsically intertwined. – That what happens in the data layer will have a transformative effect on how we think about ourselves as individuals and collectively. – And therefore the need for a sociology of data is paramount.

27 Sociologies of Data Our Data Our Selves: – How does data impact on how we view our selves, our identity, our society? – How do our attitudes affect how we view data? – How do new forms of (ubiquitous) data impact on a norms, attitudes and values? – Is informational privacy the main contact point between our digital and socio-physical identities?

28 Our Data Our Society: – How do the control processes for data reflect and affect existing social structures? – How are data shaped by the institutions and objectives that produce them? – How are institutions affected by data about/within them? – Where are the main sources of data outside the academy? How are they used? How does ownership affect use? Sociologies of Data

29 Our Data Our Research: – How do we define ‘data’ in the social sciences? Can social science adapt to use any form of social data? Can a meaningful data ontology be developed? – Where are data becoming ‘big data’? Are these transformative, or just ‘old wine in new bottles’? Where are data now providing new departures in the social sciences? – How does ubiquitous data affect the centrality of theory? Sociologies of Data

30 To Conclude: Analysing the Data Layer/Web 3.0 represents a challenge. Retaining a functioning privacy in the world of linked data is a significant challenge. We can do this but – It will require significant research effort and policy will


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