Author: Liu, Helene
Title: Datafied : a critical exploration of the production of knowledge in the age of datafication
Advisors: Gutierrez, Laurent (SD)
Jachna, Tim (SD)
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2023
Subject: Design and technology
Knowledge, Theory of
Information society -- Social aspects
Information technology -- Social aspects
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: School of Design
Pages: xv, 242 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: As qualitative aspects of life become increasingly subjected to the extractive processes of datafication, this theoretical research offers an in-depth analysis on how these technologies skew the relationship between tacit and datafied ways of knowing. Given the role tacit knowledge plays in the design process, this research seeks to illuminate how technologies of datafication are impacting designerly ways of knowing and what design can do to recalibrate this imbalance. In particular, this thesis is predicated on 4 interrelated objectives: (1) To understand how the shift toward the technologies of datafication has created an overreliance on datafied (i.e., explicit) knowledge (2) To comprehend how tacit knowledge (i.e. designerly ways of knowing) is impacted by this increased reliance, (3) To critically explore technologies of datafication through the lens of Walter Benjamin’s work on the phantasmagoria of modernity and (4) To discover what design can do to safeguard, protect and revive the production of tacit knowledge in a world increasingly dominated by datafication.
To bring greater awareness into what counts as valid knowledge today, this research begins by first identifying the principles that define tacit knowledge and datafied ways of knowing. By differentiating these two processes of knowledge creation, this thesis offers a foundation for understanding how datafication not only augments how we know things, but also actively directs and dominates what we know. This research goes on to also examine how this unchecked faith in datafication has led to a kind of 21st century phantasmagoria, reinforcing the wholesale belief that technology can be used to solve some of the most perplexing problems we face today. As a result, more tacit processes of knowledge creation are increasingly being overlooked and side-lined. To conclude this discussion, insights into how the discipline of design is uniquely situated to create a more regenerative relationship with technology, one that supports and honours the unique contributions of designerly ways of knowing, are offered.
Fundamental principles framing Grounded Theory are used as a methodological guide for structing this theoretical research. Given the unprecedented and rapid rate technology is being integrated into modern life, this methodological framework provided the flexibility needed to accommodate the evolving contours of this study while also providing the necessary systematic rigour to sustain the integrity of this PhD.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: open access

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