Big Data
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Big Data

Promise, Application and Pitfalls

Edited by John Storm Pedersen and Adrian Wilkinson

Big data and 'the package' of the digital society is de-mystified in this important book. A group of international experts frame the debates around big data and analyse its impact in different sectors in practice. They also examine whether big data and the digital society can deliver on its promises.
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Chapter 15: The digital welfare state: Dataism versus relationshipism

John Storm Pedersen

Abstract

The digital society, and consequently the digital welfare state, has been developing and is expected to develop further in the coming years. Within the digital welfare state, a new model of the provision of public welfare services to citizens as end-users on the basis of dataism is emerging. Dataism is defined as a belief in the logic of data – that data, not humans, can determine which public welfare services are best for citizens. The emerging model positions data analysts as a key profession, they hold the key to the model: digital algorithms. In addition, the emerging model has the potential to resolve the blind (weak) spots of the public welfare service semi-professionals’ ideal four-step model of the provision of welfare services to citizens. At present, the semi-professionals’ model dominates. The model reflects relationshipism. Relationshipism is defined as a belief in the logic of trust-based relationships between public welfare service semi-professionals and citizens – that trust-based relationships, not data, can determine which services are best for citizens. Consequently, trust-based dialogues between public welfare service semi-professionals and citizens in combination with co-production and co-delivery of public welfare services are the core of the public welfare service semi-professionals’ ideal model. Because the emerging model has the potential to resolve the blind (weak) spots of the public welfare service semi-professionals’ ideal model, it also has the potential to outcompete the semi-professionals’ model.

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