Epistemic Transformation at the Margins: Resistance to Digitalisation and Datafication within Global Human Rights Advocacy

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Abstract

A post-human “transformation thesis” has emerged which posits that global politics is being radically altered by digital technologies and datafication. There is a polemical tendency to generalise about macro-level revolutions in both the techniques of governance and knowledge production across different political spheres, ranging from international security to development, humanitarianism and human rights. By instead applying a meso-level lens on global politics, this article cautions against excessive generalisations about epistemic transformations. It does so by emphasising the ways in which technological changes are mediated through field-specific struggles. This point is illustrated by demonstrating the absence of a radical data revolution within the field of global human rights advocacy. Through a sociological analysis of leading human rights NGOs and their epistemic cultures, it shows how that the field's humanistic sub-culture limits the adoption of novel digital- and data-centric practices.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalGlobal Society
Early online date3 Feb 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any
medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

Keywords

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Global and Planetary Change

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