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Data Citizenship: Data Literacies to Challenge Power Imbalance Between Society and “Big Tech”

Carmi, E. ORCID: 0000-0003-1108-2075 & Yates, S. (2023). Data Citizenship: Data Literacies to Challenge Power Imbalance Between Society and “Big Tech”. International Journal of Communication, 17, pp. 3619-3637.


We argue here that data literacies and capabilities are an integral part of data justice. Based on focus group data collected as part of a 3-year empirical project research project, we find that citizens remain unaware of key aspects of the digital ecosystem, which exacerbate the power imbalance between big technology (data processors) companies and citizens (data subjects). Citizens feel concerned about the way it is operating, they do not feel confident enough to be able to address that. We find that “networks of literacy” among friends, colleagues, and trusted organizations are crucial for citizens’ capabilities. These networks influence citizens’ ability to convert their available means into capabilities to support civic engagement and their communities.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright © 2023 (Elinor Carmi and Simeon Yates). Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial No Derivatives (by-nc-nd). Available at
Publisher Keywords: data literacies, data justice, digital inequalities, citizens’ rights, citizens’, capabilities
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
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