What Communication Can Contribute to Data Studies: Three Lenses on Communication and Data

Andrew Schrock


We are awash in predictions about our data-driven future. Enthusiasts believe big data imposes new ways of knowing, while critics worry it will enable powerful regimes of institutional control. This debate has been of keen interest to communication scholars. To encourage conceptual clarity, this article draws on communication scholarship to suggest three lenses for data epistemologies. I review the common social scientific perspective of communication as data. A data as discourse lens interrogates the meanings that data carries. Communication around data describes moments where data are constructed. By employing multiple perspectives, we might understand how data operate as a complex structure of dominance.


data, big data, open data, communication theory, computer-mediated communication

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