Ontologies, methodologies, and new uses of Big Data in the social and cultural sciences

Robin Wagner-Pacifici, John W. Mohr, Ronald L. Breiger

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

46 Scopus citations


In our Introduction to the Conceiving the Social with Big Data Special Issue of Big Data & Society, we survey the 18 contributions from scholars in the humanities and social sciences, and highlight several questions and themes that emerge within and across them. These emergent issues reflect the challenges, problems, and promises of working with Big Data to access and assess the social. They include puzzles about the locus and nature of human life, the nature of interpretation, the categorical constructions of individual entities and agents, the nature and relevance of contexts and temporalities, and the determinations of causality. As such, the Introduction reflects on the contributions along a series of binaries that capture the dualities and dynamisms of these themes: Life/Data; Mind/Machine; and Induction/Deduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBig Data and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 27 2015


  • Abduction
  • Big Data
  • computational social sciences
  • digital humanities
  • field theory
  • mind/machine
  • ontology
  • text mining
  • topic models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems and Management
  • Information Systems
  • Communication
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Computer Science Applications


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