Plenary talk: “Framing Digital Discourse: Infrastructures of Datafication and Automation”

Katharina Kinder-Kurlanda will be plenary speaker at the 4th Approaches to Digital Discourse Analysis (ADDA) conference, which will be held at the University of Klagenfurt from 12-14 October 2023.


Digital discourse is facilitated and structured by complex algorithmic systems that gather, process, and analyze user data to create value. The use of social media, search engines, video streaming services, and mobile applications results in the creation of vast amounts of digital data, such as images, videos, and text. Additionally, digital interactions generate numerous other digital traces, including timestamps, locations, and other automatically collected data. This datafication has enabled the development of various business models that allow users to pay for services with data, knowingly or unknowingly. The emergence of new data economies has created a situation in which some entities derive value from other individuals’ data, and participation is often predicated on providing data. The inability to access these proprietary data for research presents unique methodological, ethical, epistemological, and practical challenges in the study of digital spaces. At the same time, there is growing public awareness that the algorithmic curation of data, particularly on social media, is often problematic, with fake content and vulnerable individuals being targeted. Greater transparency of algorithms and data is needed, which necessitates additional research on digital discourse and its framing. This talk will discuss the ways in which researchers become involved in the creation of value out of data when studying digital discourse, as well as how their research influences the spaces that they examine. Furthermore, I will examine current developments in research data infrastructures that aim to address data inequality.