Critical Metrics


“Organizations are defined by what they ignore – ignorance that is embodied in assumptions – and by the extent to which people in them neglect the same kinds of considerations” (Weick 1998: 74).

Organizations of all sorts attempt to make sense of themselves and their context in order to decide on future priorities and steer the values they are associated with. This is what we refer to as processes of strategizing - and we believe the increasing datafication of events and interactions have the potential to change their dynamics.

One question we pursue is whether the toolkit associated with so-called ‘Big Data’ afford different practices of strategizing than other toolkits. For instance, do you interpret the world differently, when you ‘see’ its patterns through digital traces than through a survey? If yes, what are the opportunities and problems accompanying such new visibilities?

Another question we pursue is whether digital methods provide opportunities for evaluating practices and things in new ways. For instance, can traces such as ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ serve as a foundation for quantifying the value of otherwise intangible assets such as cultural performances. If yes, who can benefit strategically from the normative visibilities enabled by such new metrics of valuation?


The Techno-Anthropology Lab (TANTLab) is a digital methods lab at the University of Aalborg in Copenhagen. We offer a hands-on workspace where students and researchers develop innovative approaches to the study of digita media in the social sciences and humanities. We work at the intersection between new data intensive methods, co-design and ethnography, and collaborate with a variety of public and private partners.


MindLabMorgen on the public sector's unused data resources from MindLab on Vimeo.


Madsen, A. K., Flyverbom, M., Hilbert, M., & Ruppert, E. (2016). Big Data: Issues for an international political sociology of data practices. International Political Sociology, 10(3), 275-296.


Flyverbom, M., Madsen, A. K., & Rasche, A. (2017). Big data as governmentality in international development: Digital traces, algorithms, and altered visibilities. The Information Society, 33(1), 35-42.


Madsen, A. K. (2015). Between technical features and analytic capabilities: Charting a relational affordance space for digital social analytics. Big Data & Society, 2(1), 2053951714568727.