Prof. Richard Fitzgerald

25/03/2021    (Thursday) 17:00-18:00 E34-3007

What is Data for? Contemporary Lessons from the 1970’s. 

In this paper I discuss the nature of data and in particular the role of data in the questions that the social sciences and humanities disciplines pursue. However the talk begins in the 1970’s with the unique contribution to this question by the sociologist Harvey Sacks who went on to pioneer a number of major strands of sociology, linguistics and psychology whose influence now spreads across social sciences and humanities. Drawing on archive material and discussions of the nature and purpose of data the talk examines Sacks’ approach to forms of data, the role of technology as data collection possibilities have evolved and the lessons that remain at the heart of the question ‘what is data for?’