Raw Data

Making Relations Matter

in Social Analysis
View More View Less
  • 1 University College London antonia.walford@ucl.ac.uk
Restricted access

Abstract

This article takes scientific ‘raw data’ as its ethnographic object in order to investigate the co-implication of nature and culture in scientific knowledge practices. The article traces out some of the activities that are involved in producing numerical climate data from the Brazilian Amazon. Although science and technology studies (STS) makes a strong case for associating relationality with certainty, the article argues that a particular form of data, ‘raw data’, complicates this association. It further argues that scientific data is not simply composed out of relations, but is a relation itself. The article ends with a brief reflection on the possible repercussions of shifting from thinking of science as producing multiple natures and cultures to thinking of it as producing the potential for relations.

Contributor Notes

Antonia Walford is currently a Teaching Fellow in Digital Anthropology at University College London and a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Centre for Social Data Science (SODAS), University of Copenhagen. Previously, she was a Research Associate at the ESRC Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC). Her research explores the effects of the exponential growth of digital data on social and cultural imaginaries and practices, focusing particularly on large-scale digitization in the environmental sciences. She has published in several major journals and is preparing a book manuscript.

Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology

  • Amann, Klaus, and Karin Knorr-Cetina. 1990. “The Fixation of (Visual) Evidence.” In Lynch and Woolgar 1990, 85122.

  • Bowker, Geoffrey C. 2005. Memory Practices in the Sciences. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  • Bowker, Geoffrey C. 2013. “Data Flakes: An Afterword to ‘Raw Data’ Is an Oxymoron.” In Gitelman 2013, 167172.

  • Bowker, Geoffrey C., and Susan Leigh Star. 2000. Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  • Callon, Michel. 1999. “Some Elements of a Sociology of Translation: Domestication of the Scallops and the Fisherman of St Brieuc Bay.” Abridged version. In The Science Studies Reader, ed. Mario Biagioli, 6783. London: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Candea, Matei. 2010. “‘I Fell in Love with Carlos the Meerkat’: Engagement and Detachment in Human-Animal Relations.” American Ethnologist 37 (2): 241258.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Candea, Matei, Joanna Cook, Catherine Trundle, and Thomas Yarrow, eds. 2015a. Detachment: Essays on the Limits of Relational Thinking. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Candea, Matei, Joanna Cook, Catherine Trundle, and Thomas Yarrow. 2015b. “Introduction: Reconsidering Detachment.” In Candea et al. 2015b, 131.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Collins, H. M. 1985. Changing Order: Replication and Induction in Scientific Practice. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  • Coopmans, Catelijne, Janet Vertesi, Michael Lynch, and Steve Woolgar, eds. 2014. Representation in Scientific Practice Revisited. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Derksen, Linda. 2000. “Towards a Sociology of Measurement: The Meaning of Measurement Error in the Case of DNA Profiling.” Social Studies of Science 30 (6): 803845.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gerson, Elihu M., and Susan Leigh Star. 1986. “Analyzing Due Process in the Workplace.” ACM Transactions on Office Information Systems 4 (3): 257270.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gitelman, Lisa, ed. 2013. “Raw Data” Is an Oxymoron. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  • Goldman, Marcio. 2009. “An Afro-Brazilian Theory of the Creative Process: An Essay in Anthropological Symmetrization.” Social Analysis 53 (2): 108129.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Haraway, Donna J. 1991. Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. London: Free Association Books.

  • Haraway, Donna. J. 1997. Modest_Witness@Second_Millenium.FemaleMan©_Meets_OncoMouse™: Feminism and Technoscience. New York: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hayden, Cori. 2012. “Rethinking Reductionism, or, the Transformative Work of Making the Same.” Anthropological Forum 22 (3): 271283.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jensen, Casper Bruun, and Brit Ross Winthereik. 2015. “Test Sites: Attachments and Detachments in Community-Based Ecotourism.” In Candea et al. 2015a, 197218.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Knorr-Cetina, Karin. 1981. The Manufacture of Knowledge: An Essay on the Constructivist and Contextual Nature of Science. Oxford: Pergamon Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Latour, Bruno. 1987. Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers through Society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Latour, Bruno. 1988. The Pasteurization of France. Trans. Alan Sheridan and John Law. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  • Latour, Bruno. 1993. We Have Never Been Modern. Trans. Catherine Porter. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  • Latour, Bruno. 1999. Pandora’s Hope: Essays on the Reality of Science Studies. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  • Latour, Bruno. 2004. Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy. Trans. Catherine Porter. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Latour, Bruno. 2005. Reassembling the Social. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Law, John. 2002. “Objects and Spaces.” Theory, Culture & Society 19 (5–6): 91105.

  • Law, John. 2003. “Networks, Relations, Cyborgs: On the Social Study of Technology.” Published by the Centre for Science Studies, Lancaster University. http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/fass/resources/sociology-online-papers/papers/law-networksrelations-cyborgs.pdf (accessed 6 March 2017).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lee, Nick, and Steve Brown. 1994. “Otherness and the Actor Network: The Undiscovered Continent.” American Behavioral Scientist 37 (6): 772790.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lynch, Michael, and Steve Woolgar, eds. 1990. Representation in Scientific Practice. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  • Pedersen, Morten Axel. 2012. “Proposing the Motion: Morten Axel Pedersen.” Critique of Anthropology 32 (1): 5965.

  • Star, Susan Leigh. 1991. “Power, Technology and the Phenomenology of Conventions: On Being Allergic to Onions.” In A Sociology of Monsters: Essays in Power, Technology and Domination, ed. John Law, 2656. London: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Star, Susan Leigh, and Elihu M. Gerson. 1987. “The Management and Dynamics of Anomalies in Scientific Work.” Sociological Quarterly 28 (2): 147169.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Strathern, Marilyn. 1980. “No Nature, No Culture: The Hagen Case.” In Nature, Culture and Gender, ed. Carol P. MacCormack and Marilyn Strathern, 174222. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Strathern, Marilyn. 1992. After Nature: English Kinship in the Late Twentieth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Strathern, Marilyn. 1995. The Relation: Issues in Complexity and Scale. Cambridge: Prickly Pear Press.

  • Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo. 1998. “Cosmological Deixis and Amerindian Perspectivism.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 4 (3): 469488.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo. 2004. “Perspectival Anthropology and the Method of Controlled Equivocation.” Tipití 2 (1): 322.

  • Wagner, Roy. 1977. “Scientific and Indigenous Papuan Conceptualizations of the Innate: A Semiotic Critique of the Ecological Perspective.” In Subsistence and Survival: Rural Ecology in the Pacific, ed. Timothy P. Bayless-Smith and Richard G. Feachem, 385410. London: Academic Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 45 45 11
Full Text Views 13 13 1
PDF Downloads 11 11 0