Datafied Citizens in the Age of Coerced Digital Participation

Item Type Journal paper
Abstract This article explores the relationship between surveillance capitalism, big data, and the emergence of a new type of datafied citizenship by looking at two different, yet interconnected, dimensions. In the first place, it considers how under surveillance capitalism individuals are being profiled simultaneously as consumer and citizen subjects by a complex political economic infrastructure that brings private and public entities together. In the second place, it argues that surveillance capitalism depends on the systematic coercion of digital participation, which forces citizens to comply with data technologies and give up their personal data. If we want to understand the extent of these transformation, the article argues, we need to look at children. Children have traditionally been excluded from debates about citizenship because they have often been understood as not-yet citizens or future citizens. Yet, in the study of the relationship between data and citizenship, children today are the key. They are the very first generation of citizens who are datafied from before they are born and are coerced into digitally participating to society through the data traces produced, collected, and processed by others without their consent or control. Drawing on the findings of the Child | Data | Citizen project, an ethnographically informed research project on big data and family life in the UK and US, this article will highlight some of the democratic challenges that emerge when we think about data, surveillance capitalism, and citizenship in everyday life.
Authors Barassi, Veronica
Journal or Publication Title Sociological Research Online
Language English
Keywords citizenship, coerced digital participation, data governance, data privacy, datafication, digital resignation, surveillance capitalism
Subjects computer science
social sciences
cultural studies
political science
Refereed Yes
Date 2019
Publisher Sage
Volume 24
Number 3
Page Range 414-429
Publisher DOI
Official URL
Depositing User Prof. Ph.D Veronica Barassi
Date Deposited 17 Dec 2020 15:51
Last Modified 03 Dec 2022 01:26


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Barassi, Veronica (2019) Datafied Citizens in the Age of Coerced Digital Participation. Sociological Research Online, 24 (3). 414-429.

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