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Lecture Nick Couldry: The Emerging Social Order of Data Colonialism

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Kanunnikenzaal in Academiegebouw

Domplein 29

Utrecht

Netherlands

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The Emerging Social Order of Data Colonialism: Why Critical Social Theory Still Matters!
Prof. dr. Nick Couldry (London School of Economics and Political Science)

Moderator: Prof dr. José van Dijck
Respondents: Prof. dr. Janneke Gerards, Dr. Koen Leurs, Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius

This lecture will discuss the question of social order, and in particular the social order of our lives with data. This theme is the connection between Nick Couldry’s previous books (including Media Society World and The Mediated Construction of Reality) and the book he has recently completed with Ulises Mejias: The Costs of Connection. He will explain, drawing on the work of Norbert Elias, how the concept of social order is the most useful way of approaching the current transformations of the social world, but that in thinking about order, social theory must also hold onto a human and ethical perspective, in considering the consequences of a new social order for everyday life. From this starting-point, he will move on to outline an analysis of what is going on with Big Data today, and the argument, developed in The Costs of Connection, that we are entering a new phase of data colonialism. The term ‘data colonialism’ highlights the appropriation at the heart of the emerging social order, which is based on the extraction of human life by capital through the processing of data for economic value. In this main part of the talk, links will be made to the social theory of Marx, as well as to postcolonial and decolonial theory. Who stands to gain from the new social order of data colonialism? In what ways does it compare with the opening of historic colonialism? What are the implications for a critical legal approach to data extraction and use?

The lecture will be followed by drinks

Moderator
Prof. dr. José van Dijck - Distinguished University Professor

Respondents
Prof. dr. Janneke Gerards - Professor Law, Economics and Governance
Dr. Koen Leurs - Assistant Professor in Gender & Postcolonial Studies
Dr. Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius - Researcher Institute for Information Law

Speaker bio
Nick Couldry is a sociologist of media and culture. He is Professor of Media Communications and Social Theory at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and in 2018-2019 also a Faculty Associate at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and a Visiting Professor at MIT. He is the author or editor of fourteen books including The Mediated Construction of Reality (with Andreas Hepp, Polity, 2016), Media, Society, World: Social Theory and Digital Media Practice (Polity 2012) and Why Voice Matters (Sage 2010). His latest books are The Costs of Connection: How Data is Colonizing Human Life and Appropriating Life for Capitalism (with Ulises Mejias: Stanford UP, forthcoming August 2019) and Media: Why It Matters (Polity: forthcoming October).

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Kanunnikenzaal in Academiegebouw

Domplein 29

Utrecht

Netherlands

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