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 [BibTeX] [Marc21]
Diversity and neocolonialism in Big Data research: Avoiding extractivism while struggling with paternalism
Type of publication: Journal paper
Citation: Helm_BigData_2023
Journal: Big Data & Society
Year: 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/20539517231206802
Abstract: The extractive logic of Big Data-driven technology and knowledge production has raised serious concerns. While most criticism initially focused on the impacts on Western societies, attention is now increasingly turning to the consequences for communities in the Global South. To date, debates have focused on private-sector activities. In this article, we start from the conviction that publicly funded knowledge and technology production must also be scrutinized for their potential neocolonial entanglements. To this end, we analyze the dynamics of collaboration in an European Union-funded research project that collects data for developing a social platform focused on diversity. The project includes pilot sites in China, Denmark, the United Kingdom, India, Italy, Mexico, Mongolia, and Paraguay. We present the experience at four field sites and reflect on the project’s initial conception, our collaboration, challenges, progress, and results. We then analyze the different experiences in comparison. We conclude that while we have succeeded in finding viable strategies to avoid contributing to the dynamics of unilateral data extraction as one side of the neocolonial circle, it has been infinitely more difficult to break through the much more subtle but no less powerful mechanisms of paternalism that we find to be prevalent in data-driven North–South relations. These mechanisms, however, can be identified as the other side of the neocolonial circle.
Projects Idiap
Authors Helm, Paula
de Götzen, Amalia
Cernuzzi, Luca
Hume, Alethia
Diwakar, Shyam
Ruiz-Correa, Salvador
Gatica-Perez, Daniel
Added by: [UNK]
Total mark: 0
  • Helm_SAGE_2023.pdf