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Data Cultures in Higher Education: Acknowledging Complexity

Part of the Higher Education Dynamics book series (HEDY,volume 59)


This chapter introduces the book “Data Cultures in Higher Education: Emerging Practices and the Challenges Ahead”. It is based on four sections that frame several chapters’ work and present it. In the first section, we briefly explain the problem of data and datafication in our contemporary society. To offer conceptual lenses, the idea of complexity is applied to the entropic and chaotic way with which datafication appears in several areas of higher education, triggering fragmented responses, ambiguity, and in the worst cases, harm. Hence, we offer the idea of higher education institutions’ data culture as potential apparatus to explore and understand the above-mentioned complexity. Data cultures characterise an institution and its tradition, people, narratives, and symbols around data and datafication. We purport here that awareness about their existence is crucial to engage in transformation to achieve fairness, equity, and even justice, beyond the subtle manipulation embedded in many of the assumptions behind data-intensive practices. Over these bases, we present the twelve central chapters composing this book, highlighting their perspectives and the way they contribute to study, act, and change data cultures. Finally, space is left to the book’s conclusions and the afterword by invited scholars as a point of arrival for the reader. Several threads conjoin in a web that will hopefully inspire future research and practice.


  • Data cultures
  • Challenge
  • Higher education
  • Datafication

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Correspondence to Juliana E. Raffaghelli .

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Raffaghelli, J.E., Sangrà, A. (2023). Data Cultures in Higher Education: Acknowledging Complexity. In: Raffaghelli, J.E., Sangrà, A. (eds) Data Cultures in Higher Education . Higher Education Dynamics, vol 59. Springer, Cham.

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-031-24192-5

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-031-24193-2

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