Big Data analytics and related methods introduce new possibilities for the generation of official statistics, but also raise the question of whether national statisticians can continue to claim the legitimate authority to generate knowledge of the state. Drawing on a collaborative ethnography of European official statistics, we follow the politics of method where statisticians position themselves in relation to data scientists. We show that data scientists do not replace national statisticians but that both professional groups are relationally reconfigured in material-semiotic practices that cut across national organisations, such as experiments, demonstrations, job descriptions, and transnational negotiations. Through the tentative definition of the ‘iStatistician’, Big Data methodologies reconfigure the field, while reinforcing the established values and norms for the legitimate production of official statistics.

Grommé, F, Ruppert, E.S, & Cakici, B. (2017). Data Scientists: A New Faction of the Transnational Field of Statistics. In Ethnography for a Data Saturated World. Retrieved from