This chapter describes how the technologies of big data might apply to rural contexts. It considers the relative advantages and disadvantages of such ‘new’ innovations.
It uses two case studies, one of online community specialist groups linked to rural activities and a second from a policy shift relating to firearm legislation in the English context.
The chapter suggests that digital data in the forms discussed here can be both benign and underutilised in its potential. In relation to the management of datasets holding information on firearm owners, these need careful reflection regarding their establishment, access and general use.
The chapter provides insight into the rural context and makes a case that such locales are not immune from the influence of the dataverse. The appearance of ‘big data’ here is not without political implications. The case of UK firearm legislation reform demonstrates the implications of policy falling short of its potential and how a social science analysis can unpack the operation of power as well as position the debate more broadly.
Hillyard, S. (2014), "‘Where No-One Can Hear You Scream’: An Analysis of the Potential of ‘Big Data’ for Rural Research in the British Context", Big Data? Qualitative Approaches to Digital Research (Studies in Qualitative Methodology, Vol. 13), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 231-249. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1042-319220140000013014
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