Against Cleaning

Katie Rawson and I have written a new piece at Curating Menus that reflects on some of the theoretical issues thrown up in the course of our ongoing work with the open data from What's on the Menu?. Specifically, we examine how Anna Tsing's notion of "nonscalability theory" might help us think more clearly about some of the early-stage activities we undertake with data as part of preparing it for analysis.

We are looking for new forms of collective action that can be expressed through the professional work of humanities scholars and librarians. This is not simply a call for the production of more and more data—attempting to subvert the work of categorization and classification through the production of ever more local, finely-wrought distinctions, details, qualifications. Our aim is to develop ways of working that validate local experiences of data without removing them from a more global network of information exchange.

Read the full piece at Curating Menus.