Monika Büscher Michael Liegl Shaun Perng Lisa Wood

How to Follow the Information? A Study of Informational Mobilities in Crises



This article discusses mobile methods of "following the information" to contribute to a new politics of sociological method and inform the development of new design philosophies for information technologies. The approach is motivated by the increasing informationalization of everyday life in general and crisis management in particular. At this juncture social and political principles of privacy and solidarity are being transformed in ways that undermine fundamental values of equality and freedom. Crisis management is a particularly important site for such transformations. By showcasing different ways in which we have followed information in different crisis management settings through tracking, retrospective go-alongs, shadowing and tracing, we show how technologies designed with the ambition to enable "direct interconnection," "one stop" access and "collect-all" ambitions eliminate control for many data subjects. The studies we present contribute to alternative information system design philosophies that actively support human sensory and social practices of making and making sense of data.


  • Informationalization
  • crisis management
  • mobile methods
  • privacy
  • social sorting


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