This talk will draw on Nick Couldry’s current book project The Costs of Connection: How Data is Colonizing Human Life and Appropriating it for Capitalism (Stanford University Press, mid-2019) which is co-authored with Ulises Mejias (SUNY Oswego). The talk will introduce the book’s core argument that our everyday relations with data - whether in the home, the workplace, the university or on the move anywhere - can only fully be understood through the lens of colonialism. This new colonialism, data colonialism, is not just a metaphor. The contemporary process of datafication - the compulsion to transform every aspect of life into data, which can then be extracted and processed for profit · is best understood not so much as a new phase of capitalism, but rather as a new era of colonial appropriation which will pave the way for an eventual new phase of capitalism, just as historic colonialism paved the way eventually for industrial capitalism. The argument draws on readings of Marx’s theory of capitalism, decolonial theory, critical work on algorithms, and broader social theory.
Nick Couldry is a sociologist of media and culture. He is Professor of Media Communications and Social Theory at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
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Followed by reception at 7 p.m.