our approach

“Everything that is constructed could be constructed in another way”

Datafied Life Collaboratory explores social, technical, experiential and imaginary dimensions of datafication and data-related practices. With datafication, we refer to the conversion of life into digital data and related socio-cultural and political-economic processes.

Our research covers everyday lived experiences of automated decision-making and algorithmic systems, platform economy and its implications on the present and future of labour, and the public values at stake with controversial technologies. The work done at the collaboratory is bound together by a critical yet open-ended and constructive attitude towards digital technologies: We will live with datafication and algorithmic systems for the foreseeable future, so how to live better with them? The contribution of our approach to datafication lies in closely tracing how technological developments are enacted empirically and on the ground. In doing so, we make visible the deep political, ethical and societal questions these socio-technical processes give rise to.

We are an interdisciplinary group of researchers working at the intersections of anthropology, sociology, consumer research, STS, communication and media studies. The group shares an interest in methods and methodological development, ranging from investigating exemplary cases, participatory approaches and data ethnographies to the uses of computational methods and large data sets in social research. With the term collaboratory, a neologism combining laboratory and collaboration, we emphasize the experimental and participatory nature of our work, which includes ongoing dialogue with stakeholders.

Based at the University of Helsinki and beyond, Datafied Life Collaboratory is led by Professor Minna Ruckenstein. Meet our researchers here.