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The Data Revolution

The Data Revolution
A Critical Analysis of Big Data, Open Data and Data Infrastructures

Second Edition

May 2022 | 376 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Our world is becoming ever more data-driven, transforming how business is conducted, governance enacted, and knowledge produced. Yet, the nature of data and the scope and implications of the changes taking place are not always clear. The Data Revolution is a must read for anyone interested in why data have become so important in the contemporary era.

Thoroughly updated, including ten new chapters, the book provides an accessible and comprehensive:

  • introduction to thinking conceptually about the nature of data and the field of critical data studies
  • overview of big data, open data and data infrastructures
  • analysis of the utility and value of big and open data for research, business, government and civil society
  • assessment of the concerns and risks in a data-driven world and how to prevent and mitigate them.

Part 1: Approaching Data
Chapter 1: Introducing Data
Chapter 2: Critical Data Studies
Part 2: The Transformed Data Landscape
Chapter 3: Small Data and Data Infrastructures
Chapter 4: Big Data
Chapter 5: Open and Linked Data
Part 3: Knowledge Production, Epistemology and Methodology
Chapter 6: Data Analytics
Chapter 7: The Epistemology of Academic Research
Chapter 8: Practicing Critical Data Studies
Part 4: The Utility and Value of Data
Chapter 9: Business
Chapter 10: Government and Public Services
Chapter 11: Civil Society
Part 5: Concerns and Risks in a Data-Driven World
Chapter 12: Access, Quality and Interoperability
Chapter 13: Datafication, Dataveillance and Privacy
Chapter 14: Data Capitalism
Chapter 15: Governance, Governmentality and Citinzenship
Chapter 16: Data Security
Part 6: Towards a Fairer Data World
Chapter 17: Data Ethics and Data Governance
Chapter 18: Data Justice and Data Activisim
Chapter 19: Being Mindful of Data

The Data Revolution (2nd edition) is an impressive tour de force of scholarship and practice at the intersection of data, democracy and action. Grounding itself in the emerging field of Critical Data Studies, the updated edition surveys the past decade of work on open data, big vs. small data, data justice, data and research infrastructures, security, financial regimes, data activism and more. Together the chapters provide a compelling account of contemporary thinking about data as well as outline points of tension and contestation across domains. Because of its wide-ranging and interdisciplinary purview, this book will be and invaluable resource for scholars, practitioners and newcomers.

Catherine D'Ignazio
Assistant Professor of Urban Science & Planning, MIT

In this extensive update of The Data Revolution, Rob Kitchin takes us on a deep dive into the practices and critiques of societies’ deepening datafication. Through his characteristic engagement with wide-ranging literatures, Kitchin introduces us to the key concepts and practices of data management and analytics, as well as the vital debates and methods that frame their critical interrogation. This is an indispensable guide for anyone looking to navigate themselves into and through the ever-growing literature on data and its critique – an essential read for any student of data.

Dr Jo Bates
Senior Lecturer in Information Politics and Policy, The University of Sheffield

The Data Revolution is the most comprehensive and accessible introduction to the role of data in contemporary society. Not only does it build on the author’s own considerable contributions to research in the area, but it successfully integrates a tremendous number of useful insights from across academia, business, policy, and activism. This new edition amounts to a complete revision, structured around an inspiring message about what critical perspectives on data can teach us about the actual opportunities and costs of living in a data-driven society.

Yanni Loukissas
Assistant Professor of Digital Media, Georgia Tech

This is more than a second edition. It is a comprehensive book that covers not only the fundamentals for understanding data and their ascendance but also the rise of critical research on the implications of data for societies. From definitions, methods and epistemologies to themes such as citizenship, data rights and justice, Kitchin has written what will serve as a foundational text on critical data studies.

Professor Evelyn Ruppert
Goldsmiths, University of London and Founding Editor, Big Data & Society

In this extensively revised edition of The Data Revolution, Rob Kitchin takes us on a tour de force of the social science of data, charting the latest developments in critical data studies and identifying key ethical, political and cultural dimensions of increasingly powerful data technologies. A wide-ranging, thoughtful, highly informative must-read for anybody interested in disrupting glorifying narratives around the social role and impact of data.

Sabina Leonelli
Professor in Philosophy and History of Science, University of Exeter

Data is an inescapable part of the contemporary world, and The Data Revolution is an absolutely essential read for any student, scholar or researcher who wishes to understand the societies and everyday circumstances in which we now live. This is a remarkable book in its scope, clarity, and sophistication. Rob Kitchin takes us on a meticulously researched and firmly argued, critical and illuminating journey through the evolution, issues, uses and realities of data - and in doing so provides readers with the resources they need to understand, research and act as we move forward into the possible futures that the rise of data implies.

Sarah Pink
Professor of Design and Emerging Technologies, Monash University

Rob Kitchin is one of the leading lights in critical data studies. Acknowledging the fast-moving nature of the field of study that is big data, with this second edition, Kitchin has marshalled an impressive array of new content that significantly updates and extends what was already a landmark book.

Professor Deborah Lupton
Vitalities Lab and ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society, UNSW Sydney, Australia

With social life increasingly mediated by apps, the polity progressively regulated by dashboards, and welfare decisions more and more taken by algorithms, it is clear by now that the “data revolution” is here to stay. This book is—even more than the first edition—a must read for everyone who wants to understand our complex present and find out where the future is heading. To students and scholars, this book offers a comprehensive, detailed and engaging perspective on all there is to know about how data is changing society—from the inner workings of data infrastructures to their governance implications, from the challenges to citizenship to data activism, touching upon also key methodological and epistemological questions. For everyone else who is simply a citizen of the datafied society, The Data Revolution provides the critical building blocks of a must-have data literacy. 

Stefania Milan
Department of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The first edition of this book was a stone-cold classic. I frequently found myself pulling it from its familiar place on my bookshelf. Always useful and helpful, there are traces of its influence across my lecture slides and writings of the last few years. This substantially revised and updated second edition manages to update and respond to the field whilst maintaining the foundational qualities of the original text. This new book responds in a measured and considered way the dizzying continuation of the data revolution that it describes.

David Beer
Professor of Sociology, University of York

The Data Revolution carefully and comprehensively maps the terrain of critical data studies in order to chart a course towards a digitally mediated world that can be ethical and just. Kitchin has produced a book that will define and shape the field.

Mark Graham
Professor of Internet Geography, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

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