Illustration : “Privacy Policy definition”, image sous licence CC BY-SA 3.0, disponible sur The Blue Diamond Gallery.

Avec Jo Pierson, Associate Professor on Digital media use and innovation, Department of Media and Communication Studies (Vrije Universiteit Brussel).

Lundi 2 mai 2016, 17h à 19h

Institut des sciences de la communication
20 rue Berbier-du-Mets, Paris 13e
Métro 7 « Les Gobelins »

Séminaire de l’ISCC

Datafication, privacy and (dis)empowerment

2 mai 2016, 17h à 19h, ISCC

Accueil > Évènements > Séminaires et ateliers réguliers > Séminaire de l’ISCC > 2015/2016



The lecture, based on Media and Communication Studies (MCS) and Science and Technology Studies (STS), takes an interdisciplinary look at how data and social media online platforms (like Facebook) interact with today’s society, and the kind of social challenges this poses for users/citizens/consumers. This social science perspective supports a better understanding of the relationship between media, privacy and empowerment.

We discuss how a combined MCS and STS approach can enrich privacy research on these topics, in the way that it looks at digital media platforms and their algorithms as (technological) tools for mediation. The latter perspective incorporates three inextricable and mutually determining components : artefacts, practices and social arrangements. This threefold approach offers a particular value for better assessing privacy in technologically mediated communications, while avoiding the reductionist view of technological determinism. We posit that multifaceted perspective on media and communication between people changes and broadens the framing of online privacy and datafication of media users. This also helps to delineate a realistic and multidimensional picture of users and their awareness, attitudes, capabilities and practices.

As for the structure of the lecture, we first identify how social media technologies ’delinguistify’ and change the social interaction between people from (human) connectedness to (automated) connectiviy, building on theories of Andrew Feenberg and José van Dijck. Next we broaden the scope by looking at the role of datafication and data in online (social media) platforms, and how this is interrelates with notions of (dis)empowerment and vulnerability. Finally we propose a conceptual framework, substantiated by findings from recent national and international research projects.

- Intervenant : Jo Pierson, Ph.D., is Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Communication Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium (Faculty of Economic, Political and Social Sciences and Solvay Business School). He is also Senior Researcher and staff member at the research centre SMIT (Studies on Media, Information and Telecommunication) since 1996. In this position he is co-founder of the User Empowerment unit part of Flanders’ digital research and entrepreneurship hub iMinds, where he is currently in charge of the research on privacy in social, mobile and ubiquitous media. In the past he has worked as researcher-advisor for the Dutch knowledge institute TNO in Delft (The Netherlands). He lectures undergraduate and master courses at various universities (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Hasselt University, University of Amsterdam), covering socio-economic issues relating to the information society, digital media marketing, digital broadcasting, and user innovation in new media. Drawing upon media and communication studies, in combination with science and technology studies, his research focus is on privacy, domestication, and datafication of media technologies.

- Discutante : Mélanie Dulong de Rosnay, chargée de recherche CNRS, ISCC, coordinatrice scientifique du pôle de recherche Information and Commons Governance.