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Acting with and against Big Data in School and Society: the Big Questions of Big Data

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In this paper we discuss on a general and mainly theoretical-conceptual level how schools and societies can/should handle and respond to Big Data. We do this by firstly identifying what Big Data is. Based on Levi Bryant’s onto-cartography (Bryant 2014) we suggest that Big Data ontologically can be characterized as different socio-technical machinic assemblages. These assemblages are different combinations of social systems, the big states and the big companies, and the Big Data technologies on the one hand and the citizens, not least teachers and students, on the other hand. Secondly, we present three different assembling scenarios (i.e. machine-makings): 1) a Chinese model with a Big State in alliance with the new technology (and companies) using it to control citizens and students; 2) an Anglo-American model with Big Companies in alliance with the new technology (and the politicians) using it to nudge citizens and students; 3) an EU model where citizens and students are (at least partially and intentionally) protected by the state from being surveilled, controlled and nudged by new big Cyborgs and also (based on the continental European Bildung tradition) educated to be critical and impowered to cope with Big Data in a democratic, humanistic and emancipatory ways.
Original languageEnglish
Publication yearSept 2019
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019
EventFourth International Conference on Communication & Media Studies: : The Future of Democracy in the Digital Age - University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany
Duration: 26 Sept 201928 Sept 2019
Conference number: 4


ConferenceFourth International Conference on Communication & Media Studies:
LocationUniversity of Bonn
Internet address

Bibliographical note

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    Research areas

  • Big Data, Ontology, Democracy, Education

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