Centre for Digital Humanities


CDH webinar: The datafication of race-ethnicity in Dutch governmental databases

Event details

23 March 2023
15:00 - 16:15

For his PhD research, Gerwin van Schie delved into the data systems of Dutch government bodies to look at the algorithms used there. During this webinar, he will talk about the results and the methods he has used.

In his research Van Schie focused on the way Dutch immigrant populations are ‘datafied’ by various societal institutions. Dutch governmental classifications are based on immigrants’ former nationality and that of their parents and often relate to the colonial history of the Netherlands or their country of birth. Van Schie critically investigated bias and injustice caused by the data, system, and practices of applications based on CBS statistics by employing a critical data studies approach with a postcolonial perspective.

His dissertation consists of discursive analyses of (1) the categorization system of CBS (Statistics Netherlands), (2) the data distribution system of CBS and its interface, and (3) the applications in which CBS data is appropriated for a new purpose, like for example the “Leefbaarometer” of the Ministry of Interior, and the “Crime Anticipation System” of the Dutch police.

Read the UU news article on Van Schie’s PhD research and the NWO news article.

Gerwin van Schie © Christl de Kloe

Gerwin van Schie is assistant professor media and culture studies at Utrecht University and researcher at Data School. Thanks to the Spinoza Prize that media scientist José van Dijck received from NWO in 2021, Van Schie is now conducting participatory research into effective and ethical use of data to shape policy.