Civic Participation in the Datafied Society| Understanding Civic Participation and Realizing Data Justice

Natalie Fenton


To understand civic participation in the datafied society and the possibilities for social change, we must foreground social and political injustices and understand how citizens are frozen out of society and “democratic” processes in general. This requires decentering technology in our analyses and interrogating the structural imbrication of injustices in a broader social, political, and economic context, while recognizing the need to identify and address technological injustices that occur. This article illustrates how British civil society has become less able to play an active role in democratic processes over the past decade as digital tools have proliferated. Rather, we find a disciplining of dissenting voices and depoliticization of civil society. The article argues that it is only when we take a holistic and structural approach to data injustices situated in conditions of oppression and domination that we can reach an understanding of what data justice might become to take us beyond technical/regulatory fixes that offer no more than the tweaking and taming of capitalism to a newly imagined democratic political economy beyond capitalism.


civic participation, democracy, the commons, civil society, data justice

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