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Event: Workshop: Data and the Common

Event date March 03, 2022 - March 04, 2022
Location Online workshop
Host(s) Utrecht University
Event website/information

Call for papers for workshop “Data and the common”

In reaction to data capitalism and colonialism, data and the data-related technologies and practices have been increasingly thought of in relation to the common rather than an individual. To name a few examples, processing of personal data is said to have effects beyond an individual from whom the data emanates and can have collective and societal impact (e.g. Viloen 2020; Smuha 2021). Hence data governance should not be based on individual control over data but needs to acknowledge and facilitate common interest. At the same time, normative claims are made that data should benefit all rather than few (the Big Tech) and hence data should be governed and used in common rather than in the de facto privatized data silos. Think of data sharing pools, common data spaces (EU data strategy), data cooperatives, data collaboratives, data trade unions, or data trusts (Micheli et al 2020). In this context, scholarly literature has been developing on the issue of data commons. But does the current discourse around “data commons”, collective data governance and data sharing adequately reflect what is “common” in relation to data?

This call aims to move forward the existing discourses on the collective impact of data (technologies and practices) and data commons as a normative claim to share in data processing benefits.

We welcome theoretical and empirical contributions from a broad range of disciplines including but not limited to law, political theory, philosophy of technology, STS, critical data studies, infrastructure studies, information studies, political economy and others, exploring one or more of the following themes (themes related to data and “the common” in a broad sense but not named are also welcome):

  • What are the common interests, values, spaces, objects at stake when data processing and use of information technology generally are concerned?
  • Reflections on how and in what way ‘data’ and the ‘common’ – understood broadly – could and should relate.
  • What are theoretical and normative frameworks for engagement with data and the common?
  • What are the (regulatory / governance) implications of these frameworks for data and the common, newly conceptualized problems and solutions?
  • What – if anything – makes data a common?
  • What are the boundaries of the data common? How should these be determined?
  • Do these data commons have a local or global character?
  • What insights does information philosophy, specifically, the concept of infosphere, offer in relation to data and common?
  • What insights do studies of (data) ecologies and ecosystems offer in relation to data and common?
  • What is the structure of data common? Is it local, national, global? How does it relate, morally or legally, to other forms of governance?
  • Data and “commoning”.

The workshop contributions will be presented and discussed at length during a 1 or 2 day workshop in March 2022. We aim to have the workshop output published as a special issue / special theme of a high-quality journal (currently considering Philosophy & Technology).

Please submit an abstract of 300-500 words, specifying a research question, situating your contribution in the existing scholarship, and your foreseen contribution.


1 November 2021 – Call for papers published

1 December 2021 – deadline for abstracts (300-500 words)

10 December 2021 – notification of acceptance

Mid-December 2021 – Submit a proposal for a special issue

25 February 2022 – extended abstract / initial draft of up to 3000 words.

3-4 March 2022– workshop (online)

Summer 2022 (TBD) – Submission of full papers

Submit via EasyChair

Link CFP:

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