Data in Global Capitalism

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: The digital age is witnessing an emergence of data practices, which pertain to the extraction and commodification of data within global capitalism. While there remains conceptual confusion over this phenomenon, critical studies have began to identify emerging issues related to digital development. Few accounts have attempted to frame the wide societal transformation in a holistic manner. This research employs world-systems analysis to investigate how data extraction affects global capitalism through a comparative case study of Computer Crime Act in Thailand; data relations in Africa; and development cooperation. The analysis and discussion of this research explores the core-periphery dynamics of data extraction in the Global South and discusses their potential interconnectedness within the capitalist world-economy. The findings suggest that current data practices are witnessed in various ways in different parts of the system, that essentially constitute a connected world-economy. It is further suggested that in this point of time the system reproduces certain inequalities inherent to its function, and that the associated data practices are bringing fundamental changes to the world-system.

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