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.
Making Relations Matter
Taking Amazonian Climate Science Seriously
Drawing on fieldwork with researchers and technicians involved in a scientific project in the Brazilian rainforest, this article explores specific aspects of climate science in the Amazon. It suggests that taking science seriously anthropologically requires an investigation into the relation between endo-anthropology and exo-anthropology. This is done recursively by exploring a particular way in which what is 'inside' and what is 'outside' are achieved and negotiated in the scientific practice under study. Researchers and technicians 'do' some crucial distinctions with data, and the article points to the importance of the flux of data and the boundaries and sides that emerge from the control of that flux.
Carlo Ratti and Matthew Claudel
The world is urbanizing at an unprecedented rate, and its cities are transformed by technology and distributed computing. With every photograph, Twitter post, public transit ride, and credit card swipe, we leave digital traces in physical space. The enormous quantity of information, or Urban Big Data, that humanity generates each day is beginning to off er new possibilities for research, design, and systems optimization on the city scale, but the first step toward our urban future is finding new ways of understanding and visualizing Big Data—revealing invisible dimensions of the city.
The Ten Recommendations of the CNIL (Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés)
French Data Protection Authority. These recommendations were issued as part of the Commission’s report of 16 May 2007 entitled Mesure de la diversité et protection des données personnelles. The entire report is available at http://www.cnil.fr/index. php?id=2219.
On Data-Mining, Crowd-Sourcing and White Noise
The main concern of this article is with the ways in which technologies of data-mining and crowd-sourcing have made it possible for citizens to contribute to the expansion of infectious disease surveillance as both a concrete practice and a compelling fantasy. But I am less interested in participation as such, and more concerned with the epistemological effects that this technological mediation might have for the possibility of epidemic events to become shared objects of knowledge. What happens with epidemic events when they become targets of data-mining and crowd-sourcing technologies?
Laura A. Sparks
Relying on select US government Torture Memos, this article develops the term “surveillance time” to highlight the ways in which surveillance practices, in this case within the material confines of post-9/11 detention centers, come to threaten humans’ subjectivities through temporal disruption and manipulation. While surveillance has lately been understood in digital terms, such as in corporations’ data-mining practices and in technologies like facial-recognition software, we should not neglect its material, embodied dimensions. Surveillance time ultimately asks us to reconsider how monitoring and information-harvesting practices blur the boundaries between human bodies and data. Attention to the relationship between torture and surveillance also opens up new possibilities for understanding the now-ubiquitous monitoring strategies integrated into everyday life.
The SADC and UNASUR cases
Ana B. Amaya, Stephen Kingah and Philippe De Lombaerde
English abstract: Health governance has become multi-layered as the combined result of decentralization, regional integration and the emergence of new actors nationally and internationally. Whereas this has enhanced the installed capacity for health response worldwide, this complexity also poses serious challenges for health governance, health diplomacy and health policy-making. This article focuses on one of these challenges, namely the organization of statistical information flows at and between governance levels, and the emerging role that regional organizations play therein. Regional to national-level data flows are analyzed with the use of two case studies focusing on UNASUR (Bolivia and Paraguay) and SADC (Swaziland and Zambia). The results of the analysis lead to several policy recommendations at the regional and national levels.
Spanish abstract: La gobernanza de la salud se ha convertido en una gobernanza multi-nivel, resultado de la descentralización, integración regional y aparición de nuevos actores nacionales e internacionales. Aunque esto ha mejorado la capacidad de respuesta en materia de salud mundialmente, esta complejidad plantea desafíos para la gobernanza de la salud, diplomacia en salud y elaboración de políticas. Este artículo se centra en uno de estos retos: la organización de flujos de información estadística en y entre los niveles de gobernanza, y el papel emergente de las organizaciones regionales en este ámbito. Se analizan los flujos de datos entre regiones y países mediante dos estudios de casos en UNASUR (Bolivia y Paraguay) y SADC (Suazilandia y Zambia). Los resultados del análisis arrojan recomendaciones de política regional y nacional.
French abstract: La gouvernance en matière de santé est devenue multi-niveaux comme résultat combiné de la décentralisation, de l’intégration régionale et de l’émergence de nouveaux acteurs nationaux et internationaux. Bien que cela ait renforcé la capacité d’intervention sanitaire dans le monde entier, cette complexité pose également de sérieux défi s pour la gouvernance de la santé, la diplomatie et l’élaboration des politiques. L’article se concentre sur l’un de ces défi s, à savoir l’organisation des flux d’informations statistiques à l’intérieur et entre les niveaux de gouvernance, et sur le rôle émergent des organisations régionales. Les flux de données régionales et nationales sont analysés à l’aide de deux études de cas portant sur l’UNASUR (Bolivie et Paraguay) et la SADC (Swaziland et Zambie). Les résultats de l’analyse ont conduit à plusieurs recommandations de politiques.
Measuring and being measured are some of the fundamental aspects of our worlds. Without them, we cannot live in our environments or function as social beings. But how we measure, and are measured, and to what ends and purposes, matters a great deal. Measurement does not just record; it shapes, changes, and constitutes things. It is not merely descriptive. It is creative. This introduction to the special issue explores how these themes of measurement are played out in diverse settings, including counting fish stocks, migration, social resilience, local measures of sustainability, oil exploitation, forest conservation, calculating ecosystem services, and measuring heat. Collectively, they provide a better understanding of how crucial measurements are formulated, and how they are and can be contested.
A Discursive Analysis of a Century of Anthropological Writings on Missionary Ethnographers
Travis Warren Cooper
the missionaries themselves as ethnographic data, thus expanding the purview of the anthropological gaze to include Euro-American tribes and social formations. Other commentators, in the postmodern sector of this discursive camp, problematize claims to
Susy Monica Lelli
The data presented in the appendix provide the broad outlines of the
demographic, economic, social, and political conditions in Italy. Some
of the demographic and social data in this year’s volume are from
2002, along with that from the last three censuses (1981, 1991, and
2001); for the remaining data, the contrast is over the decade from
1992 to 2002.