Making Data Public

Diana Graizbord, University of Georgia

As calls for open governance and democratic accountability become ubiquitous, state experts are increasingly tasked with making various kinds of data about policy and state affairs public. But as democratic theorists have argued 'public' and 'publicness' are polyvalent notions. This paper explores how experts define publicess and enact policy data as public by examining how Mexican state and non-state experts package and promote official poverty indicators and figures. I show that experts define publicness in practice as engagement, visibility and actionability. I argue that efforts to enact these three versions of publicness, including the work of calling forth a public to make, see and use data are often at odds. Though making data public is itself largely seen as good for governance and democracy the tensions that arise when experts make data public reveal the limits of contemporary accountability efforts. The paper draws on ethnographic observation, in-depth interviews, policy documents and other multimedia materials gathered between 2012 and 2018.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 224. Expertise IV: The Politics of Data