Sociology Between Research and the Society of Data

Stefania Capogna (2021)

Sociology Study 11(6), pp. 276-289. Open Access.

Abstract. This paper focuses on how big data guide the construction of the interpretative schemata we use to understand the world and act in it. To this end, the essay describes the most significant new research elements and frontiers that sociology is obliged to address at present. While the prevailing literature advocates the need to promote data literacy, the idea we wish to advance is that it is necessary to foster the comprehension of data along with an understanding of the role and the responsibility which sociology has intrepidly assumed since its foundation, that is, the study and explication of the complexity of the relationships characterising social life always and everywhere. Our intent is to make a proactive contribution to the study of the digitality to bring to light perverse, unexpected and/or unwanted effects associated with naive use of big data for research purposes.

Extract: “Desrosières (2016) explored the topic holding that it was necessary to distinguish between measurement and quantification. In his opinion, quantification comes before all else and provides the defining process capable of leading to the development of univocal, standard concepts, the development of procedures of classification and measurement. The defining process develops along with a continuous negotiation, coordination and critical review involving different actors from diverse disciplinary and professional fields and leading to the construction of a system of shared theoretical-methodological conventions.” (p. 281)

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