College of Information Studies Dean's Speaker Series
Community organizers create, aggregate, and visualize data in support of social movements and community-defined goals. As research in critical data studies, data activism, and human-computer interaction has argued, data can be a useful tool in terms of political action; however, this utility is attenuated by a number of factors specific to the lived conditions of Black and Latinx working-class communities. This talk reports preliminary results of ongoing interview-based research with community organizers, many of whom are engaged in forms of activism that seek to halt or change the use of data-intensive computation in law enforcement, criminal justice, financial services and other vital sites of public life. In this way, data achieves a curious duality: it provides a limited, provisional, and potentially powerful avenue of directing policy to movement goals, but it is also one of the means by which the state accomplishes the mineralization of working-class communities of color in the first place.