After Big Data Failed: The Enduring Allure of Numbers in the Wake of the 2016 US Election

Engaging Science, Technology, and Society

View Publication Info
 
 
Field Value
 
Title After Big Data Failed: The Enduring Allure of Numbers in the Wake of the 2016 US Election
 
Creator Loukissas, Yanni
Pollock, Anne
 
Subject STS
big data; prediction; polling; elections
 
Description When widespread polling failed to accurately predict the 2016 US presidential election, producers and consumers of data didn’t abandon faith in numbers. Instead, they have reconfigured their relationships with big data. Producers are formulating redemption narratives, blaming specific datasets or poor interpretation, and the broader reception looks similar. Seeking an explanation for Trump’s unexpected victory, news audiences are calling out failed pre-election polling numbers, while at the same time embracing empirically dubious exit polls. This Critical Engagement piece argues that Science and Technology Studies scholarship has prepared us to see that polling errors would not undo the prestige and power of quantitative methods, but rather reveal the intensity of our attachment to data as a readily available arbiter. We show that data’s ambivalent qualities make it a durable ground for claims-making, with the capacity to be mobilized to do different kinds of work: blame, exoneration, and broader sense-making.
 
Publisher The Society for Social Studies of Science
 
Contributor N/A
 
Date 2017-02-17
 
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article
info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion
Peer-reviewed Article

 
Format application/pdf
 
Identifier http://estsjournal.org/article/view/150
10.17351/ests2017.150
 
Source Engaging Science, Technology, and Society; Vol 3 (2017); 16-20
2413-8053
 
Language eng
 
Relation http://estsjournal.org/article/view/150/78
 
Coverage United States
current

 
Rights Copyright (c) 2017 Yanni Loukissas, Anne Pollock
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0
 

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