CFP: The Politics of Data and Quantification in the Public Sector

danah boyd
2 min readNov 8, 2022


2023 American Sociology Association / Science, Knowledge, and Technology Section


  • danah boyd, Microsoft Research
  • Chuncheng Liu, UC San Diego

Governments around the world leverage data and statistics to legitimize themselves and shape public policy. There is robust literature looking backward at statistics and state-building. However, the new politics of data and quantification need to be examined. In recent decades, new forms of data and quantification became possible and applied widely in the public sectors globally. Accompanying this change is the formation of new styles of governance, the acceleration of datafication and quantification in new social domains, the introduction of new technologies information and communication technologies, and the involvement of new stakeholders. How should sociologists understand these changes under the broader transformation of the state, market, and society relationship?

We are organizing a panel as part of the Science, Knowledge, and Technology (SKAT) section of the 2023 American Sociology Association Annual meeting (August 17–21, 2023 in Philadelphia, PA). This is an open session, so we invite authors to submit to our panel!

This panel will welcome papers that unfold these new developments through diverse theoretical and empirical perspectives. We seek particularly papers that look more closely at the politics of data and quantification from a comparative perspective, either cross-nation or comparative historical. This panel explores topics including but not limited to:

  • The political economy of the dataist state
  • Algorithmic governance
  • Digital infrastructures for governance
  • Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence in the public sector
  • Street-level bureaucratic politics of quantification
  • Datafication

To submit your paper to this session, head over to the ASA Submission Portal (opens November 7th). Make sure to select our open panel as your top choice. The deadline for submitting your proposed paper is February 22, 2023. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to both of us at danah-skat2023 [at] danah [dot] org



danah boyd

researcher of technology & society | Microsoft Research, Data & Society, NYU |