12 June 2019 from 15:30 to 17:00

Lecture: "The Emerging Social Order of Data Colonialism: Why Critical Social Theory Still Matters!"

Prof. dr. Nick Couldry
Prof. Nick Couldry

On 12 June the Datafied Society and the Centre for Humanities present the lecture The Emerging Social Order of Data Colonialism: Why Critical Social Theory Still Matters! with Prof. Nick Couldry (London School of Economics and Political Science).

This lecture will discuss the question of social order, and in particular the social order of our lives with data. This theme is the connection between Couldry’s previous books (including Media Society World and The Mediated Construction of Reality) and the book he has recently completed with Ulises Mejias: The Costs of Connection.

The event is moderated by Prof. José van Dijck. Repondents are Prof. mr. Janneke Gerards, Dr Koen Leurs and Dr Frederik Borgesius LLM.

Social order

Couldry will explain, drawing on the work of Norbert Elias, how the concept of social order is the most useful way of approaching the current transformations of the social world, but that in thinking about order, social theory must also hold onto a human and ethical perspective, in considering the consequences of a new social order for everyday life.

Data colonialism

From this starting-point, he will move on to outline an analysis of what is going on with Big Data today, and the argument, developed in The Costs of Connection, that we are entering a new phase of data colonialism. The term ‘data colonialism’ highlights the appropriation at the heart of the emerging social order, which is based on the extraction of human life by capital through the processing of data for economic value. In this main part of the talk, links will be made to the social theory of Karl Marx, as well as to postcolonial and decolonial theory. Who stands to gain from the new social order of data colonialism? In what ways does it compare with the opening of historic colonialism? What are the implications for a critical legal approach to data extraction and use?

The lecture will be followed by drinks.


Start date and time
12 June 2019 15:30
End date and time
12 June 2019 17:00
Entrance fee
Free entrance