My research interests cover issues of governance, accountability and ethics in forms of science, technology and organization. I draw on ideas from ethnomethodology, science and technology studies (in particular forms of radical and reflexive scepticism, constructivism, Actor-Network Theory and the recent STS turn to markets and other forms of organizing) and my research is ethnographic in orientation. In particular I am interested in the question of how entities (objects, values, relationships, processes and also people) become of the world.
My substantive interests are quite varied. Across a number of research projects I have ethnographically engaged with: security and surveillance, traffic management, waste, airports, biometrics, parking, signposts, malaria vaccines, Universities, algorithms and speeding drivers. Through these projects I have looked into ontology, notions of equivalence, parasitism, the mundane, market failures, problems and solutions, deleting, value and the utility of social science.
I am happy to hear from potential PhD students in all my areas of interest. I currently teach qualitative research methods to second year undergraduates and the second year option course on ‘Governing Everyday Life.’ I teach on the third year undergraduate option course ‘Privacy, Surveillance and Security.’ I also convene and teach on the MA ‘Brands, Communication and Culture.’
I continue to work on a number of funded research projects:
Market-based Initiatives as Solutions to Techno-Scientific problems (MISTS)
I am currently principal investigator on a 5 year ERC programme of research (2013-2018) entitled MISTS, which asks: Can markets solve problems?
Markets appear in discussions of an ever broader variety of social, political, technological, scientific and occasionally economic issues. Many of these discussions position markets as the basis for resolving (even simplifying and delegating responsibility for) otherwise complex problems in fields such as healthcare, education, security and the environment. Areas that once were the provision of the state are now imbued with devices, metrics, rankings, resources, regulations, experts and tenders oriented toward bringing into being a variety of market-based initiatives. The logics built into these initiatives of efficiency, effectiveness, better services, at lower costs – all made transparent and accountable to public beneficiaries – appear difficult to resist. However, this programme of research will seek to step back from these logics and ask fundamental questions of: what are markets and how do they work; what counts as value, for whom, decided in what ways; who and what is accountable to whom and what, through what means; what counts as effective or equitable and how is the counting accomplished?
Through up-close ethnographic research, the MISTS programme investigates four sub-projects in which market-based initiatives have come to the fore, in the fields of: security, healthcare, the environment and education. The programme also involves working papers, events, workshops, presentations, on-line discussions and outreach. (2013-2018; ERC Consolidator Grant, total budget euros 1,283,195).
Automatic Data relevancy Discrimination for a PRIVacy-sensitive video surveillance (ADDPRIV)
I was Goldsmiths principal investigator on this 3 year project. Although video surveillance can be said to make a contribution to security, the entanglement of surveillance, security and citizens’ rights has generated deep controversy. ADDPRIV investigates the possibility that technologies can be developed which might move away from an apparent trade-off or balance between security and human rights in the use of video surveillance in public places. In place of metaphors of balance, ADDPRIV looks to metaphors of addition; for example, is it possible to develop security and privacy? The technological developments under scrutiny in the project include algorithms which attempt to narrow the field of video surveillance images made visible, auto-deletion technologies which expunge systems of video data and access management systems which might enable a kind of accountability-by-design. Key research questions are: what are the ethics of deleting? What happens when suspicion is delegated to machines? What are the organizational consequences of automating surveillance? (2011-2014; FP7 9 partner collaboration between academia and industry, total budget euros 2,818,338).
Privacy Awareness Through Security Branding (PATS)
I was Lancaster University principal investigator on this 2.5 year project. The overall objective of PATS was to generate a concept of security branding to increase opportunities for voluntary adoption of privacy standards among security organizations. On the one hand, the project studied the degree of privacy awareness across various sectors, firms and across international government agencies that promote or use security technologies. Research focused particularly on biometrics and CCTV as these two merge continuously with each other and imply a range of applications such as motion detection, segmentation, object classification and tracking, background and behaviour identification. On the other hand, PATS asked: what is security branding? As a concept, can branding resolve issues around privacy and security? Who benefits from more sophisticated branding of surveillance systems? (2009-2012; FP7 5 partner collaboration, total budget euros 965,954).
Researching Inequality through Science and Technology (ResIST)
I was a senior research fellow working on this 3 year project. The research investigated the possibilities of shaping alternative accountability systems in order to incorporate the needs of the disadvantaged. The research argued that systems of accountability are central to potential impacts on policy because they are the means by which the potential distributional consequences of science and policy and practices can be recognised and assessed by formal elements of the political system. The research focused in particular on re-distributional issues associated with the design, development, access to and use of mundane, everyday technologies – the development of interventions in malaria, attempts to produce an ethical t-shirt and the management of electronic waste (2006-2008; FP6 total budget euros 1,200,000)
Governance and accountability relations in mundane techno-scientific solutions to public problems
I was the senior research fellow working on this 2.5 year project. The research aimed to further our understanding of the ways in which science and technology is increasingly central to the formation and maintenance of systems of accountability and governance. The purpose of the research was to investigate accountability relations in networks of governance deploying mundane techno-scientific solutions in attempts to solve public problems. In so doing, the research also sought to engage a number of outstanding theoretical problems about the status and utility of the terms “accountability” and “governance”, and to extend our appreciation of the normative potential of science and technology studies (STS). In particular the research focused on local authority waste management and recycling, the movement of people through airports and the relationships of governance established through speed cameras (2004-2006; ESRC Science in Society program project budget £160,000)
Evaluating Information technology related ChangE (EVINCE)
I was the research fellow on this 3 year ethnographic research project investigating the challenges involved in introducing new technologies to UK Universities. The research focused in particular on the rapid growth of accountability systems within Universities and the consequences that emerged from these systems. (2000-2003; HEFCE Good Management Practice Project total budget £210,000)
Ethnographies of organizations
The principle means through which I carry out research in these projects is organizational ethnography. In my attempts to take the methodological aspects of researching organizational settings seriously, I have developed a book entitled Organizational Ethnography which is part history, part methodology and partly an opportunity to write about my favourite ethnographies.
Does STS Mean Business?
This is a question that has arisen continuously during these research projects for me and colleagues with whom I have worked. Through organizing two workshops and publishing a recent journal special issue, we explored what happens when STS ideas move into business settings, to what extent its radical edge is blunted or renewed by such engagements and the ways in which STS makes business look mean.
Managing Privacy Through Accountability
Guagnin, D; Hempel, L; Ilten, C; Kroener, I; Neyland, D. and Postiga, H, eds. 2012. Managing Privacy Through Accountability. London: Palgrave-Macmillan. ISBN 9781137032225
Challenges of Organizational Ethnography: Reflecting on Methodological Insights
Neyland, D.. 2016. Challenges of Organizational Ethnography: Reflecting on Methodological Insights. In: Fiona Dykes and Renée Flacking, eds. Ethnographic Research in Maternal and Child Health. London, UK: Routledge, pp. 179-198. ISBN 978-1-138-79222-7
The Mosquito Multiple: Malaria and market-based initiatives
Neyland, D. and Simakova, E.. 2015. The Mosquito Multiple: Malaria and market-based initiatives. In: I. Dussauge; C. F. Helgesson and F. Lee, eds. Value Practices in the Life Sciences and Medicine. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 136-150. ISBN 978-0-19-968958-3
New Technologies, Security and Surveillance
Kroener, I. and Neyland, D.. 2012. New Technologies, Security and Surveillance. In: K Haggerty; K Ball and D Lyon, eds. Routledge Handbook of Surveillance Studies. London: Routledge, pp. 141-148. ISBN 9780415588836
An Ethnography of Numbers
Neyland, D.. 2012. An Ethnography of Numbers. In: D Caulkins and A Jordan, eds. Companion to Organizational Anthropology. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 219-235. ISBN 9781405199827
Trading Bads and Goods: Marketing Practices in Fair Trade Retailing
Neyland, D. and Simakova, E.. 2010. Trading Bads and Goods: Marketing Practices in Fair Trade Retailing. In: L Araujo; H Kjellberg and J Finch, eds. Reconnecting Marketing to Markets. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 1. ISBN 1
Surveillance, Accountability and Organizational Failure: The Story of Jean Charles de Menezes
Neyland, D.. 2009. Surveillance, Accountability and Organizational Failure: The Story of Jean Charles de Menezes. In: B Goold and D. Neyland, eds. New Directions in Surveillance and Privacy. Devon: Willan, p. 1. ISBN 1
Mundane Terror and the Threat of Everyday Objects
Neyland, D.. 2008. Mundane Terror and the Threat of Everyday Objects. In: K Aas and H Lomell, eds. Technologies of (In)Security. London: Routledge, -. ISBN 9780415464550
Mundane market matters: from ordinary to profound and back again
Neyland, D.; Ehrenstein, Vera and Milyaeva, Sveta. 2018. Mundane market matters: from ordinary to profound and back again. Journal of Cultural Economy, ISSN 1753-0350
On scale work: evidential practices and global health interventions
Ehrenstein, Vera and Neyland, Daniel. 2018. On scale work: evidential practices and global health interventions. Economy and Society, pp. 59-82. ISSN 0308-5147
On the transformation of children at-risk into an investment proposition: A study of Social Impact Bonds as an anti-market device
Neyland, D.. 2017. On the transformation of children at-risk into an investment proposition: A study of Social Impact Bonds as an anti-market device. The Sociological Review, ISSN 0038-0261
Mundane Market Matters: On Sensitive Metrology and the Governance of Market-Based Interventions for Global Health
Neyland, Daniel; Ehrenstein, Vera and Milyaeva, Sveta. 2017. Mundane Market Matters: On Sensitive Metrology and the Governance of Market-Based Interventions for Global Health. Revue française de sociologie, 58(3), pp. 425-449. ISSN 0035-2969
Garfinkel on Strategy: Using Ethnomethodology to Make Sense of “Rubbish Strategy”
Neyland, D. and Whittle, A.. 2017. Garfinkel on Strategy: Using Ethnomethodology to Make Sense of “Rubbish Strategy”. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, ISSN 1045-2354
Brexit and the Failure of Pre-emptive Reconciliation: A study of the General Data Protection Regulation
Neyland, D. and Milyaeva, S. 2017. Brexit and the Failure of Pre-emptive Reconciliation: A study of the General Data Protection Regulation. The Sociological Review, ISSN 0038-0261
The Entangling of Problems, Solutions and Markets: On building a market for privacy
Neyland, Daniel and Milyaeva, Sveta. 2016. The Entangling of Problems, Solutions and Markets: On building a market for privacy. Science as Culture, ISSN 0950-5431
Algorithmic IF … THEN rules and the conditions and consequences of power
Neyland, Daniel and Möllers, Norma. 2016. Algorithmic IF … THEN rules and the conditions and consequences of power. Information, Communication & Society, pp. 1-18. ISSN 1369-118X
Market innovation as framing, productive friction and bricolage: an exploration of the personal data market
Milyaeva, Sveta and Neyland, Daniel. 2016. Market innovation as framing, productive friction and bricolage: an exploration of the personal data market. Journal of Cultural Economy, pp. 1-16. ISSN 1753-0350
Bearing account-able witness to the ethical algorithmic system
Neyland, D.. 2015. Bearing account-able witness to the ethical algorithmic system. Science, Technology and Human Values, ISSN 0162-2439,
Managing electronic waste: a study of market failure
Neyland, D. and Simakova, E.. 2012. Managing electronic waste: a study of market failure. New Technology, Work and Employment, 27(1), pp. 36-51. ISSN 0268-1072
Cut to the Chase: Editing Time and Space through CCTV
Neyland, D. and Kroener, I.. 2011. Cut to the Chase: Editing Time and Space through CCTV. Driot et Culture, 61, pp. 147-70.
How far can we push sceptical reflexivity? An analysis of marketing ethics and the certification of poverty
Neyland, D. and Simakova, E.. 2009. How far can we push sceptical reflexivity? An analysis of marketing ethics and the certification of poverty. Journal of Marketing and Management, 25(7-8), pp. 777-794.
Who's Who? The biometric future and the politics of identity
Neyland, D.. 2009. Who's Who? The biometric future and the politics of identity. European Journal of Criminology, 16(2), pp. 135-55.
Achieving Transparency: The Visible, Invisible and Divisible in Acadaemic Accountability Networks
Neyland, D.. 2007. Achieving Transparency: The Visible, Invisible and Divisible in Acadaemic Accountability Networks. Organization, 14(4), pp. 499-516.
Dismissed Content and Discontent: An analysis of the strategic aspects of Actor-Network Theory
Neyland, D.. 2006. Dismissed Content and Discontent: An analysis of the strategic aspects of Actor-Network Theory. Science, Technology and Human Values, 31(1), pp. 29-51. ISSN 0162-2439
Moving Images: The Mobility and Immobility of Kids Standing Still
Neyland, D.. 2006. Moving Images: The Mobility and Immobility of Kids Standing Still. Sociological Review, 54(2), pp. 363-81.
Closed-Circuits of Interaction? The Story of Mr. B and CCTV
Neyland, D.. 2004. Closed-Circuits of Interaction? The Story of Mr. B and CCTV. Information, Communication and Society, 7(2), pp. 252-271. ISSN 1369-118X
Accountability in Action? The case of a database purchasing decision
Neyland, D. and Woolgar, S.. 2002. Accountability in Action? The case of a database purchasing decision. British Journal of Sociology, 53(2), pp. 259-274.
Something and Nothing: On algorithmic deletion, accountability and value
Neyland, Daniel. Something and Nothing: On algorithmic deletion, accountability and value. Science and Technology Studies, ISSN 2243-4690