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Evelyn Ruppert, PhD

Staff details

PositionProfessor
Department Sociology
Email e.ruppert (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone+44 (0)20 7078 5125
Evelyn Ruppert, PhD

Sociologies of data and governing, big data, social science methods, science and technology studies, population censuses, open government data

Evelyn joined the Department in April 2013 from the Centre for Research on Socio-cultural Change (CRESC), a collaboration between the Open University and the University of Manchester. With Mike Savage (Sociology, LSE) and John Law (Sociology, The Open University), she co-convened a research theme called The Social Life of Methods.  She is Editor and Founding Editor of a SAGE open access journal, Big Data & Society: Critical Interdisciplinary Inquiries, launched in 2014.

Prior to academic life, she worked for 11 years as a professional planner and government policy advisor and consultant. She returned to university and completed a doctorate in sociology in 2002.  From 2002 - 2008, she was part of an interdisciplinary team (sociology, history, geography) of 12 researchers and government agencies (Statistics Canada and the Library and Archives of Canada) responsible for building a series of databases (microdata, textual data, geocodes) on the 1911-51 Canadian censuses of population - the Canadian Century Research Infrastructure project. From 2004-8, she was Assistant Professor of Sociology at Trent University (Canada) and from 2009-13 a Senior Research Fellow at CRESC (UK).

Evelyn was the Department of Sociology Director of Research from 2013-17 and is currently Champion for the Goldsmiths Research Theme, Technologies, Worlds, Politics.

In 2018, she holds an Honorary Van Doorn Chair at the Department of Social Sciences and Public Administration, Erasmus University Rotterdam and Fellowship at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS).

Research Interests

I am a Data Sociologist and my focus is on how different sociotechnical arrangements that make up methods organise and constitute populations as objects of knowledge and governing. I have examined censuses as one such method and extended this to contemporary practices that involve new arrangements of digital technologies and the ‘big data’ they generate. I am interested in how these arrangements enact different kinds of populations and the different forms of power and intervention they invent and make possible. Additionally, I study how they can powerfully shape and have consequences for how people understand themselves as political subjects, that is, citizens with rights to intervene and make claims about how data is made about them and the populations of which they are a part.

Current projects:

1. Data Politics concerns political questions about the ways in which data has been constituted as an object vested with certain powers, influence, and rationalities. Through this project I investigate the ways in which data has become such an object of power and how to critically intervene in its deployment as an object of knowledge.

2. ARITHMUS is a multi-year project that investigates how governing the EU is bound up with methods of enacting who constitutes the European population. It involves an ethnographic study of European national and international statistical institutes undertaken by a team of six researchers. The first stage of the project was funded by a British Academy/Leverhulme small grant (2013-15) – Counting Britain in Europe - and the second by an ERC Consolidator Grant (2014-19) - Peopling Europe: How data make a people.

3. Socialising Big Data: identifying the risks and vulnerabilities of digital data-objects was an ESRC strategic investment and collaboration between colleagues at Manchester, Warwick and Lancaster universities (2013-14). The project investigated the risks and challenges of big data such as privacy, security, relevance, accuracy, representativeness, and stability and how these qualities make ways of knowing vulnerable to various forms of failure.  

4. Doing the Transparent State was a study of the UK government's Transparency Agenda as a generative device that produces data publics, enacts the transparent state and at the same time renders transparency elusive. I developed these propositions to think more generally about various transparency devices such as audits and indicators.

5. The Baroque as Empirical Sensibility is a project I co-lead with John Law at CReSC, which inquired about what can we learn from the baroque to enrich contemporary empirical research. The project resulted in a co-edited book, Modes of Knowing, published with Mattering Press.

 

Publications

Book

Being Digital Citizens
Ruppert, Evelyn and Isin, Engin. 2015. Being Digital Citizens. London: Rowman & Littlefield International. ISBN 978-1-78348-055-5

The Moral Economy of Cities: Shaping Good Citizens
Ruppert, Evelyn. 2006. The Moral Economy of Cities: Shaping Good Citizens. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 9780802038869

Edited Book

Modes of Knowing: Resources from the Baroque
Law, John and Ruppert, Evelyn, eds. 2016. Modes of Knowing: Resources from the Baroque. Manchester: Mattering Press. ISBN 978-0-9931449-8-1

Edited Journal

The Social Life of Methods: Devices
Ruppert, Evelyn and Law, John, eds. 2013. The Social Life of Methods: Devices, Journal of Cultural Economy, 6(4). 1753-0350

The Social Life of Methods: Digital Devices
Ruppert, Evelyn; Law, John and Savage, Mike, eds. 2013. The Social Life of Methods: Digital Devices, Theory, Culture & Society, 30(4). 0263-2764

Book Section

A baroque sensibility for Big Data visualisations
Ruppert, Evelyn. 2016. A baroque sensibility for Big Data visualisations. In: John Law and Evelyn Ruppert, eds. Modes of Knowing: Resources from the Baroque. UK: Mattering Press, pp. 136-165. ISBN 978-0-9931449-8-1

Big Data Economies and Ecologies
Ruppert, Evelyn. 2015. Big Data Economies and Ecologies. In: Linda McKie and Louise Ryan, eds. An End to the Crisis of Empirical Sociology? Trends and Challenges in Social Science Research. London: Routledge, pp. 12-26. ISBN 9781138828674

Doing the Transparent State: open government data as performance indicators
Ruppert, Evelyn. 2015. Doing the Transparent State: open government data as performance indicators. In: R. Rottenburg; S. E. Merry; S-J Park and J Mugler, eds. A World of Indicators: The making of governmental knowledge through quantification. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 127-150. ISBN 9781107450837

Infrastructures of Census Taking
Ruppert, Evelyn. 2014. Infrastructures of Census Taking. In: Gordon Darroch, ed. The Dawn of Canada's Century: Hidden Histories. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, pp. 51-70. ISBN 9780773542525

Category
Ruppert, Evelyn. 2012. Category. In: Celia Lury and Nina Wakeford, eds. Inventive Methods: The Happening of the Social. London: Routledge, pp. 36-47. ISBN 978-0-415-57481-5

Seeing Population: Census and Surveillance by Numbers
Ruppert, Evelyn. 2012. Seeing Population: Census and Surveillance by Numbers. In: Kirstie Ball; Kevin Haggerty and David Lyon, eds. Routledge International Handbook of Surveillance Studies. London: Routledge, pp. 209-216. ISBN 10: 0415588839

Shaping Good Cities and Citizens
Ruppert, Evelyn. 2011. Shaping Good Cities and Citizens. In: Sophie Watson and Gary Bridge, eds. The New Blackwell Companion to the City. London: Blackwell, pp. 667-678. ISBN 10: 1-4051-8981-9

Making Populations: From Censuses to Metrics
Ruppert, Evelyn. 2010. Making Populations: From Censuses to Metrics. In: L Hempel; S Krasmann and U Bröckling, eds. Visibility Regimes: Monitoring, Security and Privacy in the 21st Century. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag, pp. 157-173. ISBN 10: 3531164112

Data Scientists: A New Faction of the Transnational Field of Statistics
Grommé, Francisca; Ruppert, Evelyn and Cakici, Baki. Data Scientists: A New Faction of the Transnational Field of Statistics. In: Hannah Knox and Dawn Nafus, eds. Ethnography for a Data Saturated World. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Article

Big data: Issues for an international political sociology of the datafication of worlds
Madsen, A.K.; Flyverbom, M.; Hilbert, M. and Ruppert, Evelyn. 2017. Big data: Issues for an international political sociology of the datafication of worlds. International Political Sociology, ISSN 1749-5679

How do we know who we are? Reimaging government data through the digital arts
Ruppert, Evelyn and Gòrny, Dawid. 2017. How do we know who we are? Reimaging government data through the digital arts. openDemocracy,

Data Politics
Ruppert, Evelyn; Isin, Engin and Bigo, Didier. 2017. Data Politics. Big Data & Society, 2017(July), pp. 1-7. ISSN 2053-9517

The Other Davos: A Sociologist Goes to the World Economic Forum
Ruppert, Evelyn. 2017. The Other Davos: A Sociologist Goes to the World Economic Forum. The Sociological Review, ISSN 0038-0261

Citizen Snowden
Isin, Engin and Ruppert, Evelyn. 2017. Citizen Snowden. International Journal of Communication, 11, pp. 843-857. ISSN 1932-8036

Who Owns Big Data
Ruppert, Evelyn. 2015. Who Owns Big Data. Discover Society(23),

On Doing Words with Things: Citizens, Claims and Digital Acts
Ruppert, Evelyn. 2015. On Doing Words with Things: Citizens, Claims and Digital Acts. The Sociological Review,

Methods as Devices
Ruppert, Evelyn. 2015. Methods as Devices. JCE Online,

Not Just Another Database: The Transactions that Enact Young Offenders
Ruppert, Evelyn. 2013. Not Just Another Database: The Transactions that Enact Young Offenders. Computational Culture, pp. 1-13.

Reassembling Social Science Methods: the challenge of digital devices
Ruppert, Evelyn; Law, John and Savage, Mike. 2013. Reassembling Social Science Methods: the challenge of digital devices. Theory, Culture & Society, 30(4), pp. 22-46. ISSN 0263-2764

Introduction: The Social Life of Methods - Devices
Ruppert, Evelyn and Law, John. 2013. Introduction: The Social Life of Methods - Devices. Journal of Cultural Economy, 6(4), pp. 1-12. ISSN 1753-0350

Rethinking Empirical Social Sciences
Ruppert, Evelyn. 2013. Rethinking Empirical Social Sciences. Dialogues in Human Geography, 3(3), pp. 268-273.

Anticipating Failure: Transparency Devices and their Effects
Harvey, Penny; Reeves, Madeleine and Ruppert, Evelyn. 2012. Anticipating Failure: Transparency Devices and their Effects. Journal of Cultural Economy, 6(4), pp. 1-19.

Transactional Politics
Ruppert, Evelyn and Savage, Mike. 2012. Transactional Politics. The Sociological Review, 59(S2), pp. 73-92. ISSN 0038-0261

The Governmental Topologies of Database Devices
Ruppert, Evelyn. 2012. The Governmental Topologies of Database Devices. Theory, Culture and Society, 29(4-5), pp. 1-21. ISSN 0263-2764

Population Objects: Interpassive Subjects
Ruppert, Evelyn. 2011. Population Objects: Interpassive Subjects. Sociology, 45(2), pp. 218-233. ISSN 1468-4446

Becoming Peoples: “Counting Heads in Northern Wilds”
Ruppert, Evelyn. 2009. Becoming Peoples: “Counting Heads in Northern Wilds”. Journal of Cultural Economy, 2(1/2), pp. 11-31. ISSN 1753-0350

"I is; therefore I am”: The Census as Narrative and Practice of Double Identification
Ruppert, Evelyn. 2008. "I is; therefore I am”: The Census as Narrative and Practice of Double Identification. Sociological Research Online, 13(4), pp. 1-16.

Census in Context: Documenting and Understanding the Making of 20th Century Canadian Censuses
Bellavance, Claude; Normand, France and Ruppert, Evelyn. 2007. Census in Context: Documenting and Understanding the Making of 20th Century Canadian Censuses. Historical Methods, 40(2), pp. 92-103. ISSN 0161-5440

Rights to Public Space: Regulatory Reconfigurations of Liberty
Ruppert, Evelyn. 2006. Rights to Public Space: Regulatory Reconfigurations of Liberty. Urban Geography, 27(3), pp. 271-292. ISSN 0272-3638

Report

Body Counts: Counting Aylan Kurdi
Ruppert, Evelyn and Ustek, Funda. 2015. Body Counts: Counting Aylan Kurdi. Project Report. Visual Social Media Lab, University of Sheffield.

A Social Framework for Big Data
Ruppert, Evelyn; Harvey, Penny; Lury, Cellia; Mackenzie, Adrian; McNally, Ruth; Baker, Stephanie Alice; Kallianos, Yannis and Lewis, Camilla. 2015. A Social Framework for Big Data. Project Report. CRESC, The University of Manchester and The Open University.

Background: A Social Framework for Big Data
Ruppert, Evelyn; Harvey, Penny; Lury, Cellia; Mackenzie, Adrian; McNally, Ruth; Baker, Stephanie Alice; Kallianos, Yannis and Lewis, Camilla. 2015. Background: A Social Framework for Big Data. Project Report. CRESC, University of Manchester and The Open University.

Other

Citizen Data and Official Statistics: Background Document to a Collaborative Workshop
Grommé, Francisca; Ustek, Funda; Ruppert, Evelyn and Cakici, Baki. 2017. Citizen Data and Official Statistics: Background Document to a Collaborative Workshop. ARITHMUS Working Paper Series, London.

Transcending Methodological Nationalism through a Transversal Method? On the Stakes and Challenges of Collaboration
Scheel, Stephan; Cakici, Baki; Grommé, Francisca; Ruppert, Evelyn; Takala, Ville and Ustek, Funda. 2016. Transcending Methodological Nationalism through a Transversal Method? On the Stakes and Challenges of Collaboration. ARITHMUS Working Paper Series, London.

Socialising Big Data: From concept to practice
Ruppert, Evelyn; Harvey, Penny; Lury, Cellia; Mackenzie, Adrian; McNally, Ruth; Baker, Stephanie Alice; Kallianos, Yannis and Lewis, Camilla. 2015. Socialising Big Data: From concept to practice. CRESC, The University of Manchester and The Open University.

(Un)doing collaboration: reflections on the practices of collaborative research
Ruppert, Evelyn and Encounters Collaborative, CRESC. 2013. (Un)doing collaboration: reflections on the practices of collaborative research. CRESC, University of Manchester and The Open University.

Knowing, communicating, sense making, place and urban disorder: young people and the 2011 riots
Ruppert, Evelyn; Kesten, Jamie; Murji, Karim and Neal, Sarah. 2013. Knowing, communicating, sense making, place and urban disorder: young people and the 2011 riots. CRESC.

Thinking Cities Through Objects
Carter, Simon; Dodsworth, Francis; Ruppert, Evelyn and Watson, Sophie. 2011. Thinking Cities Through Objects. CRESC.

The Double Social Life of Methods
Law, John; Ruppert, Evelyn and Savage, Mike. 2011. The Double Social Life of Methods. CRESC.

Digital Devices: Nine Theses
Law, John; Ruppert, Evelyn and Savage, Mike. 2010. Digital Devices: Nine Theses. CRESC.

Producing Population
Ruppert, Evelyn. 2007. Producing Population. CRESC.