media, information, the contemporary

Colonized by Data: The Costs of Connection


Join Nick Couldry & Ulises Mejías as they discuss the data colonialism thesis developed in their book The Costs of Connection: How Data is Colonising Human Life and Appropriating It for Capitalism, and their project (with Paola Ricaurte) Tierra Común and its interventions for data decolonisation.

Date and Time: Thursday 21 October, 3:00-5:30 pm

A new colonial era is under way. This time the target isn’t land or natural resources, but human life itself: human action and experience that can be converted into profit through the medium of data extraction. This is data colonialism. This represents a deepening of colonialism as significant as the original colonial land grab of five centuries ago. Historic colonialism preceded capitalism and laid its foundations, based on brutal violence whose implications continue today. The new data colonialism is based, by contrast, on social relations established under capitalism: its violence takes a symbolic form, an opaque and automated violence, that threatens human freedom.

Nick Couldry is a sociologist of media and culture. He is Professor of Media Communications and Social Theory at the London School ofEconomics and Political Science, and is since 2017 also a Faculty Associate at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. He is the author or editor of fifteen books including The Mediated Construction ofReality (with Andreas Hepp, Polity, 2016), Media, Society, World: Social Theory and Digital Media Practice (Polity 2012) and Why Voice Matters (Sage 2010). His latest books are The Costs of Connection: How Data is Colonizing Human Life and Appropriating Life for Capitalism (with Ulises Mejias: Stanford UP, 2019), Media: Why It Matters (Polity: 2019) and Media, Voice, Space and Power: Essays of Refraction (Routledge 2021). Nick is also the co-founder of the Tierra Común network of scholars and activists ( of the European Media Salon (

Ulises A. Mejías is Professor of Communication Studies and director of the Institute for GlobalEngagement at SUNY Oswego. From 2021 to 2025, he is a Fulbright Specialist fellow. He is the co-founder of the Non-Aligned Technologies Movement and the network Tierra Común. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Humanities New York, a National Endowment for the Humanities affiliate. His research interests include critical internet studies, network theory and science, philosophy of technology, sociology of communication, and political economy of digital media. His new book, co-authored with Nick Couldry, is The Costs of Connection: How Data is Colonizing Human Life and Appropriating it for Capitalism. His previous book, Off the Network: Disrupting the Digital World (2013), was published by University of Minnesota Press.

Presented by

The Capture All lecture series is presented as part of the Capture All program of creative and critical intensives, which bring together Australian and Indian artists to investigate the relation of the sonic to networked forms of capture and control in settler- and post-colonial contexts. Capture All is produced by Liquid Architecture (Melbourne) and Sarai-CSDS (New Delhi) and curated by Laura McLean and Mehak Sawhney.

The Capture All public lecture series is supported by Curatorial Practice at Monash University.