Call for Papers: Imagining alternative data futures: resistance, subversion and adaption (Young Scholar’s Forum) for the 3rd Vienna Anthropology Days aka VANDA 2022 Conference (September 26 – 30, 2022)

Short Abstract:

We invite works which explore and subvert the socio-material constitutions, infrastructures and rationales of the datafication of public health, including, but not limited to, biometric data relations.


Digital technologies are central in public narratives on the future of mankind, equally serving utopian and dystopian scenarios. Big Data-based infrastructures demand the quantification of daily life, bodies, and the planet as a whole and are generally imbued with an aura of truth, efficiency, objectivity, and inevitability (boyd and Crawford 2012, Sapignoli 2021). They are not only framed as a possible solution for most societal problems, but as better or enhanced ways of seeing, being in, and (re-)making the world. Embedded in a capitalist techno-euphoria the socio-material emergence of digital technologies is often naturalized, making their imminent costs invisble. These include new forms of digital extraction, increased spheres of surveillance, and changing notions of responsibility and agency.

In recent years, however, works in the emerging fields of decolonial data studies (Couldry, Mejias 2020), feminist data practices (Ignazio, Klein 2020), and glitch art (Russel 2020) among many others, have started to resist the above described emerging data relations.

We invite work that follows these emerging strands of artistic and scholarly work, and therefore

– critically questions the “view from nowhere” (Haraway 1988),

– explores the embodiment, situatedness, and affective atmospheres of data practices and their constitutive possibilities,

– highlights the materiality of data and its relations, including the planetary costs of data and the space and resources that it requires and appropriates.

– imagines alternative data relations, which negate or subvert existing forms of capitalist data extraction and the commodification of life through data practices

– highlights practices of resistance and solidarity, including technological adaptions, repurposing, and processes of knowledge decentralization


We especially encourage multimodal ethnographies that involve film, photography, creative writing, and/or sensory ethnography.

Discussant: Sandrien Verstappen, University of Vienna

VANDA aims at bringing together scholars from various fields of anthropology, social sciences and humanities.  To submit your paper, please click on this link.