Special Issue "Big Data and the Human and Social Sciences"

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Ivo Veiga

Institute for Contemporary History, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Nova University of Lisbon, Avenida de Berna 26 C, 1069-061 Lisbon, Portugal
Website | E-Mail
Interests: democratization; comparative institutional analysis; economic history and innovation; computational history; textual analysis; social network analysis
Guest Editor
Dr. Ana Paula Pires

Institute for Contemporary History, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Nova University of Lisbon, Avenida de Berna 26 C, 1069-061 Lisbon, Portugal
Website | E-Mail
Interests: First World War studies; contemporary history; European history; economic history; social history
Guest Editor
Dr. Inês Queiroz

Institute for Contemporary History, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Nova University of Lisbon, Avenida de Berna 26 C, 1069-061 Lisbon, Portugal
Website | E-Mail
Interests: history of science; history of technology; economic and social history

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

From our perspective, sociologists, historians, political scientists, economists, philosophers and anthropologists are well placed to deal with the big data movement. At the present time, social and human scientists have at their disposal a wide volume and variety of data, including massively-growing public archival data. This allows to extend the geographical and longitudinal scope of analyses on a new scale. However, first and foremost it gives social and human scientists the opportunity to show their strong competence on contextual knowledge, the capacity to historically situate objects of analyses and discuss meanings and vast textual corpora. Still, the strategies for storing and analyzing such data are complex and not without difficulties.

This Special Issue aims to discuss the challenges and opportunities in applying computational methods to massive textual and historical data, the potential change in standards of evidence, as well as the impact of such methods on qualitative-based research approaches. It also seeks to build bridges with formal, applied and natural scientists, exploring how new methods can actually lead to new discoveries in the social sciences.

Dr. Ivo Veiga
Dr. Ana Paula Pires
Dr. Inês Queiroz
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Social Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Big Data
  • Computational Social Sciences
  • Computational History
  • Digital Humanities
  • Digital Sociology
  • Social Network Analysis
  • Text Mining

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Big Data, Algorithmic Regulation, and the History of the Cybersyn Project in Chile, 1971–1973
Soc. Sci. 2018, 7(4), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci7040065
Received: 21 December 2017 / Revised: 10 April 2018 / Accepted: 11 April 2018 / Published: 13 April 2018
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Abstract
We are living in a data-driven society. Big Data and the Internet of Things are popular terms. Governments, universities and the private sector make great investments in collecting and storing data and also extracting new knowledge from these data banks. Technological enthusiasm runs
[...] Read more.
We are living in a data-driven society. Big Data and the Internet of Things are popular terms. Governments, universities and the private sector make great investments in collecting and storing data and also extracting new knowledge from these data banks. Technological enthusiasm runs throughout political discourses. “Algorithmic regulation” is defined as a form of data-driven governance. Big Data shall offer brand new opportunities in scientific research. At the same time, political criticism of data storage grows because of a lack of privacy protection and the centralization of data in the hands of governments and corporations. Calls for data-driven dynamic regulation have existed in the past. In Chile, cybernetic development led to the creation of Cybersyn, a computer system that was created to manage the socialist economy under the Allende government 1971–1973. My contribution will present this Cybersyn project created by Stafford Beer. Beer proposed the creation of a “liberty machine” in which expert knowledge would be grounded in data-guided policy. The paper will focus on the human–technological complex in society. The first section of the paper will discuss whether the political and social environment can completely change the attempts of algorithmic regulation. I will deal specifically with the development of technological knowledge in Chile, a postcolonial state, and the relationship between citizens and data storage in a socialist state. In a second section, I will examine the question of which measures can lessen the danger of data storage regarding privacy in a democratic society. Lastly, I will discuss how much data-driven governance is required for democracy and political participation. I will present a second case study: digital participatory budgeting (DPB) in Brazil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Big Data and the Human and Social Sciences)
Open AccessArticle Big Data in Ottoman Urban Studies: A Relational Approach to the Archival Data and to Socio-Spatial Analyses of an Early Modern Ottoman City
Soc. Sci. 2018, 7(4), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci7040059
Received: 1 January 2018 / Revised: 24 March 2018 / Accepted: 5 April 2018 / Published: 8 April 2018
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Abstract
This paper focuses on two basic archival sources of Ottoman urban history: avârız tax surveys and surety surveys of Edirne in the second half of the seventeenth century. These tax and surety surveys, which are abundant in the Ottoman archives, contain rich information
[...] Read more.
This paper focuses on two basic archival sources of Ottoman urban history: avârız tax surveys and surety surveys of Edirne in the second half of the seventeenth century. These tax and surety surveys, which are abundant in the Ottoman archives, contain rich information on the residents of Ottoman cities, including names, titles, occupation, gender, religion, property status and numbers of tax units (avârızhane). All this information is given on the basis of the mahalle (neighborhood), which provides a practical point of departure for “reading” the Ottoman city. Each register contains approximately 10,000 household heads, with about 10 different attributes listed for each of them. In addition, the data contain some numerical information (e.g., numbers of tax units), although a majority of it is nominal. While some types of nominal data, like religion and gender, comprise only a few possible variants and can thus be analyzed without further classification, others, such as occupation data, contain hundreds, and thus cannot be analyzed without clustering them. In analyzing the data, the distribution of each attribute in the city and its density in an urban space (scaling) can be presented in the form of ratios. One may perform these analyses in the first stage with conventional statistical methods. However, this study attempts for the first time to achieve two further goals: connecting the data types to each other; and highlighting the distinguishing differences among the mahalles using the methods of hierarchical clustering, correspondence analysis, and creating maps by geographic information systems (GIS) applications—none of which is possible with conventional methods. Such an exploration suits both the relational approach I am trying to advocate here—namely, that all elements in the city must be understood in relation to one another—and my effort to lay out the general features of the Ottoman city. This approach will allow us to see how these attributes are spatially distributed based solely on the guidance provided by the big data available in the sources. In this context, I explore the topographical similarities of the mahalles on the one hand, and the socio-economic features and structures of attribute profiles via the scale of their “corresponding distances” on the other. These topographical vicinities and socio-spatial neighbors resemble and do not resemble each other in the city. This paper discusses the processes, challenges and possible contributions of the application of big data to urban historical studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Big Data and the Human and Social Sciences)
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