Datavisions – On Panoptica, Oligoptica, and (Big) Data


  • Regine Buschauer



In focusing on relations between data and vision and proposing to address big data in terms of currently dominant optical metaphors (and, quite literally, in terms of ‘visions’), the paper makes a case for an approach that allows for clearer distinctions between big data as ‘visions’, and data technologies. (Re)assessing (present and past) notions and visions of panoptic data technologies, I outline three perspectives on the nexus between data and vision(s). Following Bruno Latour’s counter-image of “oligoptica”, I argue, more generally, in favour of a conceptual framework that understands big data as a sociotechnical infrastructure, and discuss, drawing on more recent studies, in which ways this approach allows to address social and ethical implications of present data technologies and practices in a more differentiated way.




How to Cite

Buschauer, Regine. 2016. “Datavisions – On Panoptica, Oligoptica, and (Big) Data”. The International Review of Information Ethics 24 (May). Edmonton, Canada.