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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: February 2020

12 - The Dark and Light Sides of Big Data

from II - Media Explosion, Knowledge as Power, and Demographic Reversals


The growth of Big Data has become central to the politics of contemporary societies and stimulated new research in political sociology. Citizens and states increasingly depend on the Internet, cell phones, social media, and other new information communication technologies (or ICTs) to communicate about politics and to mobilize, control, monitor, and influence politics (Castells 2009, 2012; Castells and Cardoso 2015). One of the most important consequences has been the “Twitter revolution” of using websites, blogs, social media, and cell phones to mobilize and coordinate political action. ICTs have lowered communication costs, provided platforms for forming new political identities and identifying grievances, devising strategies, organizing protests and collective action, creating citizen access to information (including internet hacks), carrying out administrative planning, and providing new platforms for democratic discussion and governance (the “light side”).

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