The "Big Data Revolution": A Critical Approach / Dr. Laurence Barry

Course Number: 54232

Big data has become in the last decade the trendiest tool in a wide range of domains: with the growing capacity to store large amounts of data, came also the algorithmic technologies to analyze them. Following Foucault's claim that power and knowledge come always as entangled, this course will attempt to grasp genealogically the social and political implications of the emergence of these technologies. 
Using Foucault’s conceptual toolbox, we will thus examine the power mechanisms propelled by the algorithms and the kind of social norms they imply. At the individual level, what can be said of the algorithms' effects on the contemporary self? If the process of subjectivation occurs in the relation of the self to truth, what is truth in the big data era, that some have coined the post-truth era? Finally, if the individual remains the provider of data, is there a way to resist this new order, and how?


2nd semester