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Message posted on 16/01/2023

Call for Abstracts: Caring and Repairing Data Lives, Nordic STS conference, Oslo, June 7-9

Dear colleagues,

We are very pleased to invite you to submit an abstract to our open panel Caring and Repairing Data Lives (see description below), at The 6th Nordic STS conference, in Oslo, June 7-9, 2023. The deadline for abstract submission is March 1.

We are particularly interested in discussing short versions of papers, but abstract and presentation only is fine as well. The panel is organized by James Merricks White and myself, Charlotte Högberg, both from The Department of Technology and Society at Lund University, Sweden. For further info about submission process, visit: If you have any questions, you are very welcome to contact me.

Caring and Repairing Data Lives Data are not only generated about our lives, but are increasingly interwoven with how our lives are lived. How we undertake our work, interact with friends and family, follow news and social media, buy groceries and shop online, even how we relax and play — all these activities are mediated by data about us and others, and reworked through mundane data politics (Pink et al., 2017). In this panel, we ask when and how to engage in these politics, not only in terms of critique, but maintenance: how to configure websites, apps and other digital services; what to share or not in which public streams; how to engage with and involve others. The panel aims to attend to data lives from an STS perspective of care and repair. This may include how we live with and alongside data and the everyday uses to which data is put, but also the lives of data themselves, their localities and connections, travels and transformations, their effects and affects, how they smooth things out but elsewhere create friction (Kitchin, 2021). A care and repair perspective means attending to often neglected matters (de la Bellacasa, 2011). What become objects of care in data lives? How do we take time to tinker with data and choreograph care in our data practices (Law, 2010)? How do social and material relations decay and break (down), and how are they put back together (Ramakrishnan et al., 2021)? We are interested not only in critiques of our datafied and digitised society, but in examples and stories of how data lives and worlds might be otherwise. Imaginaries and speculation are welcome, but so too more present politics of prefiguration. We invite a range of theoretical, empirical and stylistic approaches that explore how we can use concepts of care, repair, maintenance and infrastructure to surface these all-too-often submerged social processes and entanglements.

Suggested topics: •When and where do we find everyday caring and repairing practices of data reuse, repair, refusal and resistance? •How is maintenance work enacted through, e.g., struggling with settings, impairing surveillance, fixing data leaks? •How might we understand everyday negotiations and (re)configurations of data-sets: labelling, cleaning, mending biases and generating derivative data? •How do patients and medical professionals live with data-driven medical and health care technologies? •How does technological breakdown affect affordances and embeddedness? How can we make visible alternative data enactments and infrastructures?

References: de la Bellacasa, M. P. (2011). Matters of care in technoscience: Assembling neglected things. Social Studies of Science, 41(1), 85–106. Kitchin, R. (2021). Data Lives: How data are made and shape our world. Bristol: Bristol University Press. Law, J. (2010). Care and killing: Tensions in veterinary practice. In A. Mol, I. Moser and J. Pols,(Eds.) Care in Practice. On Tinkering in Clinics, Homes and Farms (p. 141-70). Transcript Verlag. Ramakrishnan, K., O’Reilly, K., & Budds, J. (2021). The temporal fragility of infrastructure: Theorizing decay, maintenance, and repair. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, 4(3),674-695. Pink, Sarah, Sumartojo, Shanti, Lupton, Deborah, & Heyes La Bond, Christine (2017). Mundane data: The routines, contingencies and accomplishments of digital living. Big Data & Society, 4(1), 1-12.

Panel organizers: Charlotte Högberg and James Merricks White

All the best, Charlotte

Charlotte Högberg Doctoral Student, Department of Technology & Society, Faculty of Engineering, Lund University LU Research Portal.

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