Evelyn Ruppert, PhD

Staff details

Position Professor
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 held 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).

In 2019, she will be a Visiting Professor at the Technologies in Practice research group at the IT University Copenhagen.

 

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.

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 en

Publications

Book

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

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

Edited Book

Bigo, Didier; Isin, Engin and Ruppert, Evelyn, eds. 2019. Data Politics: Worlds, Subjects, Rights. London: Routledge. ISBN 1138053260

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

Scheel, Stephan; Ruppert, Evelyn and Ustek, Funda, eds. 2019. Enacting migration through data practices, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 37(4). 0263-7758

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

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

Book Section

Ruppert, Evelyn and Isin, Engin. 2019. Data’s empire: postcolonial data politics. In: Didier Bigo; Engin Isin and Evelyn Ruppert, eds. Data Politics: Worlds, Subjects, Rights. London: Routledge. ISBN 1138053260

Bigo, Didier; Isin, Engin and Ruppert, Evelyn. 2019. Data Politics. In: Didier Bigo; Engin Isin and Evelyn Ruppert, eds. Data Politics: Worlds, Subjects, Rights. London: Routledge. ISBN 1138053260

Grommé, Francisca; Ruppert, Evelyn and Cakici, Baki. 2018. 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. ISBN 1526127598

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Article

Ruppert, Evelyn. 2019. Different Data Futures: An Experiment in Citizen Data. Statistical Journal of the IAOS, ISSN 1874-7655

Cakici, Baki and Ruppert, Evelyn. 2019. Methods as Forces of Subjectivation: Experiments in the Remaking of Official Statistics. Journal of Cultural Economy, ISSN 1753-0350

Scheel, Stephan; Grommé, Francisca; Ruppert, Evelyn; Ustek-Spilda, Funda; Cakici, Baki and Takala, Ville. 2019. Doing a transversal method: developing an ethics of care in a collaborative research project. Global Networks, ISSN 1470-2266

Ruppert, Evelyn and Scheel, Stephan. 2019. The Politics of Method: Taming the New, Making Data Official. International Political Sociology, 13(3), pp. 233-252. ISSN 1749-5679

Ratner, Helene and Ruppert, Evelyn. 2019. Producing and Projecting Data: Aesthetic Practices of Government Data Portals. Big Data & Society, 6(2),

Ruppert, Evelyn; Grommé, Francisca; Ustek, Funda and Cakici, Baki. 2019. Citizen Data and Trust in Official Statistics. Economie et Statistique, 505, pp. 171-184. ISSN ISSN 0336-1454

Grommé, Francisca and Ruppert, Evelyn. 2019. Population Geometries of Europe: The Topologies of Data Cubes and Grids. Science, Technology & Human Values, ISSN 0162-2439

Ruppert, Evelyn and Gòrny, Dawid. 2018. Reflections on a Collaboration: How do we know who we are? Medium,

Ruppert, Evelyn. 2018. Doing words with things of the Internet. Soziale Welt, 23, pp. 458-470. ISSN 0038-6073

Madsen, A.K.; Flyverbom, M.; Hilbert, M. and Ruppert, Evelyn. 2017. Big Data: Issues for an International Political Sociology of Data Practices. International Political Sociology, 10(3), pp. 275-296. ISSN 1749-5679

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

Conference or Workshop Item

Ruppert, Evelyn. 2018. 'Sociotechnical Imaginaries of Different Data Futures: An Experiment in Citizen Data'. In: Dag van de Sociologie, Dutch and Flemish Sociological Association Conference and the Third Van Doorn Lecture. Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Report

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

Ruppert, Evelyn. 2007. Producing Population. CRESC.