Redistributing Data Worlds: Open Data, Data Infrastructures and Democracy

Author : Jonathan Gray

Open data, defined as a set of ideas and conventions that transform information into a reusable public resource, is promoted for various purposes: to improve the transparency of public institutions, to create projects that strengthen democracy, to stimulate economic growth.

The social and technical infrastructures that support open data recompose the “worlds of data”: new social collectives are formed, new practices creating meaning appear. Transnational political initiatives are emerging. Far from being a simple “release” of data, it does not go without translation, mediation, and new social practices.

But can this movement serve as a basis for a richer democratic deliberation, or is it destined to socially institutionalize various forms of bureaucratization and commodification?