Virtual SODAS Pop-up Talk w/ Robert Dorschel

Robert Dorschel is a PhD candidate at the Department of Sociology and member of Darwin College at the University of Cambridge. He conducts research in the fields of labour, culture and social theory. His dissertation focuses on the class of digital professionals. Deploying qualitative methods, he analyses the social practices and identities of tech workers and entrepreneurs in the European digital economy.

The Ambivalent Construction of Data Scientists: Discovering the World of Digital Professionals

So far, few sociological inquiries have been undertaken into the labour market segments of high-skilled digital professionals. This talk explores the rising profession of data scientists through the eyes of the economic and academic field. Based on a discourse analysis of data science job ads and study programs, I will address the question of how data scientists are externally constructed. In recurrence to the social theories of Bourdieu and Foucault, I will argue that the academic and economic discourses on data science follow a social logic of ambiguity. The discursive field is structured by different as well as common imaginations of what kind of subjects data scientists ought to be. The discursive ambiguity is then not interpreted as a weak spot but rather as a strategic advantage of data scientists vis-à-vis competing occupations. It is argued that ambiguity serves as a form of capital in the wake of digital transformations. The talk will conclude with a contextualisation of data scientists within the wider labour market segment of digital professionals.

The virtual SODAS Pop-up Talk will take place at SODAS in Zoom from 11:00 am - 12:00 noon Tuesday the 28th of April 2020.

If you want to attend the event or just want to know more, please write Sophie Smitt Sindrup Grønning at