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Morgan Currie

Morgan Currie
Name
Dr Morgan Currie
Title
Lecturer in Data & Society
Department
Science Technology and Innovation Studies School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh
Address
2.88 Old Surgeons' Hall High School Yards Edinburgh UK
Telephone
0131 650 6394
Email
Research Interests
Administrative Data, open data, data activism, Democratic Theory, local governance and grassroots democracy, data infrastructures
URL
http://www.sps.ed.ac.uk/staff/science_technology_and_innovation_studies/morgan_currie

Biography

My research engages with the relationship between data and democracy – how data infrastructures condition the possibility for forms of democratic governance, civic behavior, and political struggle. My recent work analyses the datafication of city records, as city governments have embraced statistical tools that subject administrative records to quantification, visualisation, and other machine-readable functions. I also draw from political theories of democracy, including American pragmatism and post-structuralist critical theory, to understand how civil society can use data as a tool to contest political issues. I use fieldwork, interviews, and case study analysis to ask how these new information cultures take shape, and how they might open – or foreclose – democratic decision-making.

I earned a Ph.D. in Information Studies from University of California, Los Angeles, in 2017, and a Masters in New Media from the University of Amsterdam in 2010. Prior to my Lectureship I was was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Digital Civil Society Lab at Stanford University.

Research

Research Interests

Administrative Data, open data, data activism, Democratic Theory, local governance and grassroots democracy, data infrastructures

Current Projects

Datafication of City Records

This research draws on my dissertation to ask about the consequences of data-centric policies inside city governments on local forms of democratic participation. While administrations have long collected statistics for the express purpose of creating quantitative accounts for administrative decision-making, the past decade has seen all manner of administrative information rendered as data, and so subject to quantification and machine-readable functions. City governments have embraced these statistical tools to track performance, set goals, justify budget expenditures, direct public services, and engage the public. Datafication raises new questions about public accountability, democratic representation, and civil liberty that demand exploring.  

PUBLICATIONS

Currie, M. (Forthcoming). Hacking administration: A report from Los Angeles. In Hunsinger J. and A. Schrock (eds.), Making Our World: The Hacker and Maker Movements in Context, New York: Peter Lang.

Currie, M. (2018). A dual valuation of openness. Proceedings of the 19th Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research. Delft, The Netherlands, 30 May – 1 June.

Currie, M. (2017). The datafication of transparency work: A report from Los Angeles. Proceedings for the Interactions Symposium on Big Data. InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies, 13(2). https://escholarship.org/uc/item/73j1q5sp.

Data Activism and 'Agonistic Data'

This ongoing research analyses case studies of data activism. It also draws on archival theory and democratic political theory to differentiate between activist goals and methods. For instance, data collection can serve a deliberative, consensus-based function when it augments government data to increase the number of voices represented. A divergent political theory called agonistic pluralism argues that consensus politics merely mask how power is rooted in society. Agonistic data practices do not seek reconciliation with official data but offer a parallel and distinct understanding of an issue. A third approach engages refusal of data collection as a generative critique of power that can reconfigure social and political relations.

PUBLICATIONS

Currie, M., & B. Paris (forthcoming). Back-ups for the future. Archival Practices for Data Activism. Archives & Manuscripts. Accepted for publication.

Currie, M. Donovan J., & Paris B (2018). Preserving for a more just future: Tactics of activist data archiving.” In Munshi, U. M. & N. Verma (eds), Data Science Landscape – Towards Research Standards and Protocols, Singapore: Springer. //www.springer.com/us/book/9789811075148.

Currie, M., B. Paris, I. Pasquetto, and J. Pierre (2016). The conundrum of police officer-involved homicides: Counter-data in Los Angeles County. Big Data & Society. 3.2: 2053951716663566. bds.sagepub.com.

Teaching

Postgraduate Teaching

Fall 2018

Technologies of Civic Participation 

Spring 2019

Data, Design & the City (with James Stewart)

Internet, Society & Economy (with James Stewart)

Publications

Refereed Journal Articles

Currie, M. & W. F. Hsu. (forthcoming). Performing bureaucracy: Cultures of government data practice. Journal of Cultural Analytics. (In Review)

Currie, M., & B. Paris. (2018). Back-ups for the future. Archival practices for data activism. Archives & Manuscripts. June.

Currie, M., B. Paris, I. Pasquetto, and J. Pierre (2016). The conundrum of police officer-involved homicides: Counter-data in Los Angeles County. Big Data & Society. 3.2: 2053951716663566. bds.sagepub.com.

Fidler, B., & Currie, M. (2016). Infrastructure, Representation, and Historiography in BBN’s Arpanet Maps. IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, 38(3), 44–57. https://doi.org/10.1109/MAHC.2015.69.

Fidler, B. and M. Currie (2015). The Production and interpretation of ARPANET maps. IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, 37(1), 44-55, January-March, DOI: 10.1109/MAHC.2015.16.

Kelty, C., A. Panofsky, R. Crooks, M. Currie, S. Erickson, P. Garcia, S. Wood, and M. Wartenbe (2014). Seven dimensions of contemporary participation disentangled. Journal of the American Society for Information and Technology, 66(3), 474–488. https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.23202

Book Chapters

Currie, M. (Forthcoming). Hacking administration: A report from Los Angeles. In Hunsinger J. and A. Schrock (eds.), Making Our World: The Hacker and Maker Movements in Context, New York: Peter Lang.

Currie, M. Donovan J., & Paris B. (2018). Preserving for a more just future: Tactics of activist data archiving. In Munshi, U. M. & N. Verma (eds), Data Science Landscape – Towards Research Standards and Protocols, Singapore: Springer. //www.springer.com/us/book/9789811075148.

Currie, M. (2012). The feminist critique: Mapping controversy in Wikipedia. In Berry, D. M. (ed.), Understanding Digital Humanities, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, pp. 224-248.

Op-Eds, Proceedings, & Book Reviews

Currie, M. (2018). A dual valuation of openness. Proceedings of the 19th Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research. Delft, The Netherlands, 30 May – 1 June.

Paris , B. S., and Currie, M. (2018). Buried, altered, silenced: 4 ways government climate information has changed since Trump took office, The Conversation, 21 March. http://theconversation.com/buried-altered-silenced-4-ways-government-climate-information-has-changed-since-trump-took-office-92323

Currie, M. (2017). The datafication of transparency work: A report from Los Angeles. Proceedings for the Interactions Symposium on Big Data. InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies, 13(2). https://escholarship.org/uc/item/73j1q5sp.

Paris, B. S., and Currie, M. (2017). How the “guerrilla archivists” saved history – and are doing it again under Trump. The Conversation, February 21http://theconversation.com/how-the-guerrilla-archivists-saved-history-and-are-doing-it-again-under-trump-72346.

Currie, M., B. Paris, I. Pasquetto, J. Pierre, and A. Sands. (2015). The Police officer-involved homicide database project. Proceedings to the 2015 iConference, Newport, CA.

Fidler, B. and M. Currie (2015). Gateways: Historical underpinnings of a single Internet. Proceedings to the 2015 iConference, Newport Beach, CA.

Currie, M. (2015). Review: Open standards and the digital age: History, ideology, and networks by Andrew L. Russell. InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies, 11(2), Retrieved from: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/19d2h79x.

Currie, M. (2013). Review: Paper machines: About cards & catalogs, 1548-1929 by Markus Krajewski. InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies, 9(1), Retrieved from: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/07h1s2w7.