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Datafication refers to the process by which subjects, objects, and practices are transformed into digital data. Associated with the rise of digital technologies, digitization, and big data, many scholars argue datafication is intensifying as more dimensions of social life play out in digital spaces. Datafication renders a diverse range of information as machine-readable, quantifiable data for the purpose of aggregation and analysis. Datafication is also used as a term to describe a logic that sees things in the world as sources of data to be “mined” for correlations or sold, and from which insights can be gained about human behavior and social issues. This term is often employed by scholars seeking to critique such logics and processes.


The concept of datafication was initially employed by scholars seeking to examine how the digital world is changing with the rise of big data and data economies. However, as datafication itself becomes more widespread, scholarship...

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Further Readings

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Correspondence to Clare Southerton .

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Southerton, C. (2020). Datafication. In: Schintler, L., McNeely, C. (eds) Encyclopedia of Big Data. Springer, Cham.

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