European Communication Research
and Education Association

Log in

Datafication and the Welfare State

06.06.2019 12:22 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Special Collection for the Communication and Media Section of Global Perspectives

Deadline: July 1, 2019

Please submit abstracts to Lina Dencik ( and Anne Kaun (

Estimated Timeline

  • 1st July 2019 - 500-word abstracts
  • 20th of July 2019 - notification of invitation to submit full papers (6000-8000 words)
  • 1st of November 2019 - submission of full papers
  • 1st of April 2020 - review process complete
  • 1st of June 2020 - publication of articles

The impact of globalization on the welfare state has been a prominent long-standing issue in both scholarly and policy debate. Whilst the advent of digital technologies has been central to this debate, the more recent onus on data and data-driven technologies across business, government and civil society brings with it a particular set of concerns. Data and algorithmic processes are increasingly an integral part of governing populations and used to categorize, profile and score individuals, households and communities, with a view to allocate services, target and identify people, and make decisions about them. In this sense, datafication is part of (re)shaping state-citizen relations, the nature of statecraft and (re)defining state models, particularly in relation to public services and welfare provision. Advancing unevenly and in diverse contexts, this trend is often underpinned by a rationale centred on efficiency, resource-saving and more ‘objective’ decision-making. Yet critical scholarship on datafication has pointed to the ways in which this ‘new public analytics’ paradigm (Yeung 2018) is embedded in a particular set of values, and advances certain epistemological and ontological assumptions that carry substantial social and political significance (e.g. boyd and Crawford 2012, Van Dijck 2014). Moreover, both assumptions and responses to such assumptions have tended to rely on universalist understandings of developments and rights, bypassing nuanced and contextual engagement with the way data systems are developed, implemented and understood across the globe (Arora 2019; Milan & Treré 2019). For this special collection, we therefore invite submissions that engage with the notion of the welfare state from global perspectives, with a particular focus on datafication.

We seek contributions that examine the kinds of practices, values and logics that underpin the advancement of datafication and consider how these relate to the practices, values and logics that form the basis of public services and social welfare in the context of globalisation. For example, research has suggested that data analytics advances a society organized around risk management, in which it is assumed that it is possible to predict individual behaviour from the aggregation of data points pertaining to group traits, with the aim to both pre-empt and personalize risk (Amoore 2013, Van Dijck 2014, Andrejevic 2017). In addition, many of the tools being deployed originate in a commercial sphere, perpetuating the presence of multi-national companies in the public sector, often favouring economic values rather than social, relational and personal values (Baym 2013, Redden 2015). These logics can be seen as the continued dismantling of the welfare state, understood in terms of a commitment to universal access, decommodification, and social solidarity. Moreover, the prevalence of data science as developed and practiced by a few dominant global players raise questions about the standardization of governance and statecraft. By fleshing out these issues, the special collection invites contributions that reflect on transformations brought about by data processes in the public sector and across social life, and contextualise these in terms of different value-systems and visions for how society should be organised.


Andrejevic, M. (2017). To pre-empt a thief. International Journal of Communication, 11(2017), pp. 879-896.

Amoore, L. (2013). The Politics of Possibility: Risk and Security Beyond Probability. Durham and London: Duke University Press.

Arora, P. (2019). Decolonizing Privacy Studies. Television & New Media, 20(4): 366-378.

Baym, N. K. (2013). Data Not Seen: The Uses and Shortcomings of Social Media Metrics. First Monday, 18(10).

boyd, d. and Crawford, K. (2012). Critical Questions for Big Data. Information, Communication & Society, 15(5), pp. 662-679.

Milan, S. and Treré, E. (2019) Big Data from the South(s): Beyond Data Universalism. Television & New Media, 20(4): 319-335.

Redden, J. (2015). Big data as system of knowledge: investigating Canadian governance. In: G. Elmer, G. Langlois and J. Redden, J., eds., Compromised Data: From Social Media to Big Data, London: Bloomsbury.

Van Dijck, J. (2014). Datafication, Dataism and Dataveillance: Big Data Between Scientific Paradigm and Ideology. Surveillance & Society, 12(2), pp. 197-208.

Yeung, K. (2018) Algorithmic government: Towards a New Public Analytics? Paper presented at ThinkBig, Windsor, 25 June.


Please submit a 500-word abstract to Lina Dencik ( and Anne Kaun ( before 1 July 2019.

The special collection will be published as part of the Communication and Media Section of the Global Perspectives journal. Full papers – 6000-8000 words in length – are required by 1 November 2019.

About the journal

Global Perspectives (GP) is an online-only, peer-reviewed, transdisciplinary journal seeking to advance social science research and debates in a globalizing world, specifically in terms of concepts, theories, methodologies, and evidence bases. Work published in the journal is enriched by invited perspectives, through scholarly annotations, that enhance its global and interdisciplinary implications.

GP is devoted to the study of global patterns and developments across a wide range of topics and fields, among them trade and markets, security and sustainability, communication and media, justice and law, governance and regulation, culture and value systems, identities, environmental interfaces, technology-society interfaces, shifting geographies and migration.

GP sets out to help overcome national and disciplinary fragmentation and isolation. GP starts from the premise that the world that gave rise to the social sciences in their present form is no more. The national and disciplinary approaches that developed over the last century are increasingly insufficient to capture the complexities of the global realities of a world that has changed significantly in a relatively short period of time. New concepts, approaches and forms of academic discourse may be called for.

About the Communication and Media Section of Global Perspectives

Section Editor: Payal Arora, Erasmus University Rotterdam

The ‘global turn’ in communications, advances in mobile technologies and the rise of digital social networks are changing the world´s media landscapes, creating complex disjunctures between economy, culture, and society at local, national, and transnational levels. The role of traditional mass media - print, radio and television - is changing as well. In many cases, traditional journalism is declining, while that of user-generated content by bloggers, podcasters, and digital activists is gaining currency worldwide, as is the impact of robotics and artificial intelligence on communication systems. Today, researchers find themselves at important junctures in their inquiries that require innovations in concepts, frameworks, methodologies and empirics. Global Perspectives aims to be a forum for scholars from across multiple disciplines and fields, and the Communication and Media Section invites submissions on cutting-edge research on changing media and communication systems globally.



Chaussée de Waterloo 1151
1180 Uccle

Who to contact

Support Young Scholars Fund

Help fund travel grants for young scholars who participate at ECC conferences. We accept individual and institutional donations.



Copyright 2017 ECREA | Privacy statement | Refunds policy