The Interplay Of Different Publics In Big Crisis Data

Karolin Eva Kappler

Abstract


The current huge surge of digital data, measurements and new forms of (algorithmic) valuation includes the extension of calculative practices to emergency situations and emergency management systems. By introducing Big Crisis Data, the very concepts of emergency and crisis rely heavily on the calculation of crisis events and crowd behavior. This data based crisis management takes place constituting, controlling and shifting the interplay between different publics, redefining the social based on calculative practices. Therefore, this paper studies quantitative approaches to emergency management as an emerging practice in the frame of the transdisciplinary ‘valuation studies’, asking (1) how these calculative practices look like and how they come into practice and (2) how they mediate between and affect different roles of involved publics. The aim is not only to shed light on the interplay between different publics, but also to understand how measurements and visualizations – based on Big Data analysis and algorithms – affect these publics following the perspective of a platform society. To answer these questions, the paper analyses participatory observations, interviews, questionnaires, and documents collected during the course of the EU-funded FP7-project SUPER (Social sensors for secUrity Assessments and Proactive EmeRgencies Management). Hence, the paper explains some of the unfolding practices of emergency-tracking and how – based on individual and social metrics, practices and discourses – metadata gains in importance through supervised and non-supervised algorithms which detect emergent patterns and anomalies. The closing discussion is guided by theoretical concepts, such as biopolitical control and megadata society.


Keywords


Big Data, emergency management, valuation studies, publics, megadata society

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