Data Justice Lab

The Data Justice Lab examines the intricate relationship between datafication and social justice, highlighting the politics and impacts of data-driven processes and big data. The lab is hosted at Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies and directed by Dr Lina Dencik, Dr Arne Hintz, and Dr Joanna Redden.

Upcoming Event: Data Justice Conference

An international conference exploring research on, and practices of, social justice in an age of datafication // Date: 21-22 May 2018 // Location: Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK // More information //

Data Justice

The collection and processing of massive amounts of data is becoming an increasingly contentious issue. Our financial transactions, communications, movements, relationships, and interactions with government all increasingly generate data that are used to profile and sort groups and individuals. With the ‘platformisation’ of digital media alongside governmental and corporate uses of citizen data, developments in the Internet of Things, smart homes and smart cities, the systematic collection and analysis of massive data sets across our social life is being normalised and entrenched – what has been described as the ‘datafication’ of society. These processes can affect both individuals as well as entire communities that may be denied services and access to opportunities, or wrongfully targeted and exploited. In short, they impact on our ability to participate in society.

With the emergence of this data paradigm comes a new set of power dynamics requiring investigation and critique. Whilst promises of value-neutral information and possibilities for prediction are said to advance better responses to a range of social problems, they may also have serious implications for social inclusion, autonomy, basic freedoms, and established notions of ethics, trust, responsibility and accountability.

The term ‘data justice’ is intended to advance a research agenda that examines the intricate relationship between datafication and social justice by foregrounding and highlighting the politics and impacts of data-driven processes and big data. The lab brings together our interests in digital media, social justice, and data power and builds on our existing research and activity in these areas.


The Data Justice Lab has just published a Data Harms Record. Take a look to find out more about how data analysis can have problematic consequences, and help us build and expand it.

The Lab is also starting its work on several major projects: Datajustice (an ERC Starting Grant funded by the European Research Council); Data Scores as Governance: Investigating uses of citizen scoring (funded by the Open Society Foundations); and Data Policies: Regulatory Approaches for Data-Driven Platforms in the UK and EU (in collaboration with ITforChange, funded by the IDRC). Find out more on our projects pages.

Research Themes

In the Data Justice Lab we carry out research that engages with data analytics from a social justice perspective. This includes research that examines the implications of institutional and organizational uses of data as well as research that provides critical responses to potential data harms and misuses. Areas of research may include (but are not limited to):

  • Data discrimination
  • Data colonialism
  • Digital labour
  • Prediction and Preemption
  • Data ethics
  • Algorithmic governance
  • Social justice-informed design
  • Uses of data by social justice groups
  • Data-related activism and advocacy

Check out our projects, publications and events on this website.

Follow us on Twitter: @DataJusticeLab