What is the social role of data? In The Data Gaze: Capitalism, Power and Perception
(Sage, 2019), David Beer
, a professor of sociology at the University of York,
considers this question by introducing the concept of the data gaze. The book is the third in Beer’s loose trilogy of work on data. It draws on Foucault’s work in The Birth of the Clinic
to think through various theoretical and empirical examples of how the data gaze functions. The book considers theories of temporality and acceleration, along with the practices of analysts, engineers, and organisations in data capitalism, with the aim of questioning the objectivity assumed to be inherent in ‘data’. It will be essential reading to anyone seeking to understand contemporary, data, society.