Call for Abstracts: Synchronizing Data in OrganizationsSiegen, September 9–10, 2021
Organized by Siri Lamoureaux, Tobias Röhl, Matthias Röhr, Nadine Taha, Axel Volmar
With keynotes by Janet Vertesi (Princeton) and Hendrik Vollmer (Warwick)
Organizations have always produced and relied on a wide variety of different forms of data. Originating from different sources and times, they are aggregated and operationalized with the aid of technologies and become part of situated ‘data practices.’ Thus, data seem to be in constant need of synchronization to enable their harmonioususe acrossplaces and times. At the same time, practices of synchronization within organizations themselves rely on certain forms of data and dataprocessing technologies. Synchronization, how-ever, should not be considered a smooth technical process, as data are visible for and directed at different publics and can appear as open and mundane in some instances and as exclusive and confidential in others. Moreover, data tend to be selective, incomplete or even “broken” (Pink et al. 2018). As “lively data” (Lupton 2016), they are open to interpretation, carry a history and may yield future potential. They also seem to be in constant need of care and are subject to various forms of data work, as they need to be stored, retrieved, cleaned up or re-/formatted for specific purposes.
Above all, data shape and are shaped by organizational and social temporalities (Wajcman and Dodd 2016), “temporal and normative orderings” (Coletta et al. 2020) as well as complex media ecologies and “infra-structures of time” (Volmar and Stine 2021). Their usefulness for the present moment needs to be established in situ and determined in relation to the availability of technologies and other data. Such forms of data synchronization include the intra-organizational curation, transformation and adjustment of data in everyday work practices as well as inter-organizational forms of data exchange. Even though it is well known that prognoses are likely to fall shortand that the future can never be fully anticipated and planned, data-driven “future-making practices” (Wenzel et al. 2020) based on digitally networked information infrastruc-tures are becoming increasingly ubiquitous within organizations. Data is used to make sense of the organi-zational pasts, predict future challenges, and guide decision-making processes in the face of organizational environments increasingly perceived as volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA).
This conference aims to investigate how organizations deal or have dealt with the temporal and socio-technical heterogeneity of various forms of data. How do new ways of data aggregation and processing adjust temporal patterns of work, governance, leadership, collaboration and decision-making, and how, in turn, do changing forms of cooperative planning and data practices alter what kinds of data (such as quali-tative data, user data, sensor data etc.) emerge and are being used in organizations? How are organizational data translated, interpreted and related to other data? How are they represented and “re-represented” (Ger-son and Star 1985), and what frictions arise between new forms of data processing and situated work prac-tices? What kind of “accountability relations” (Woolgar and Neyland 2013; Neyland and Coopmans 2014) and “accounting assemblages” (Vollmer 2018) are enacted through these processes? What are problems, challenges and issues revolving around data and temporality in organizations?
Please submit abstracts of 300 to 500 words, along with a title and a short biography (max. 150 words) by February 28, 2021 to firstname.lastname@example.org