Data Subjects: Calibrating and Sieving

Baki Cakici and Evelyn Ruppert

Goldsmiths Press, 2021.

Who are the subjects of data practices? How do data practices configure the capacities of subjects to engage and participate in their categorisation and become part of a population? These are questions this chapter turns to by first assuming that subjects do not pre- exist data practices but come into being through them (Ruppert, 2011). The data practices analysed in the foregoing chapters, such as those that make up administrative registers and surveys, involve different relations to what this chapter refers to as data subjects. Whether implicit or explicit, data practices that encode people into categories, for example, interact and engage with subjects in different ways. And, in doing so, data subjects come into being through varying relations, interactions, and dynamics between human and technological actors that make up data practices.

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