Datafied Society seminar: Governance & Governmentality

Date: October 8th, October 22nd, November 5th, November 19th, December 3rd, December 17th.
Time: 14:00 – 17:00
Venue: Utrecht University – Drift 13, room 0.05
Open to: PhD candidates and RMa students who are a member of a Dutch Graduate Research School (onderzoekschool). Students who are members of RMeS will have first access.
Credits: 3 ECTS
Organization: Karin van Es, Maranke Wieringa, Gerwin van Schie and Tim de Winkel
Registration: Maximum participants in the event: 12
Register before: September 30th. Register here

General description

About the course

How do data influence the governing of our society? With automatic systems checking for fraud, or trying to predict crimes before they’ve happened, it becomes increasingly important to reflect on the governance and governmentalities (Foucault 2010) such systems enforce and/or facilitate.

This first instance of the course is themed ‘Governance and Governmentalities’, and will focus on how technology/data systems are used to exert power over data subjects, how they influence decision making and how technology/data systems are inscribed by powerful entities. The course takes a media studies perspective, but draws from a wide variety of fields such as ANT, sociology, information and computer sciences, gender studies, platform studies, and critical theory.

Participants who want to take the course for ECTS, are required to 1) actively participate during the whole course (10%), and 2) present a research proposal (90%). In this research proposal the participants are required to demonstrate how the texts we’ve discussed in the previous weeks could be applied to a research project. The research itself does not have to be executed. Instead, students will be presenting a proposal, which includes a case, research question(s), and propose an adequate method and a theoretical framework, during class.

3 ECTS (of 28 hours each), equates to 84 hours of study load. The study load is distributed as follows:

  • 6 seminars of 3 hours each = 18 hour;
  • Preparation of seminars 5 x 10 hours (thoroughly reading the texts and formulating questions) = 50 hours;
  • Preparing one’s own research proposal and presenting it = 16 hours.

About Datafied Society

The Datafied Society research platform addresses societal challenges emerging from novel data practices in public governance and management, (public) media and public space and seizes opportunities for using data practices to foster citizenship, civic participation and creative production. For the coming years, our focus areas are: Government and governmentalities, Social justice and public values, and tool criticism. As part of these focus areas, the Datafied Society will regularly offer rMA students, PhD candidates and other RMeS members a themed course in we will engage in a close-reading of selected texts.


  • Meeting 1: Governance and Governmentalities
  • Meeting 2: Data infrastructures
  • Meeting 3: Governing data subjects
  • Meeting 4: The values inscribed in data systems(/technology)
  • Meeting 5: Governing (with/through) data systems
  • Meeting 6: Student presentations

Preparation and readings:

Literature will be accessible online or will otherwise be made available to students prior to the start of the course.

Credits & certificate

Certificates of participation and credits are available upon request after the event. Event coordinators will decide whether the participant has fulfilled all requirements for the ECTS. Please direct your request to and include the postal address you want the certificate send to. Note: the certificate itself is not valid as ECTS, you need to validate it yourself at your local Graduate School.