Datafication: from Doppelganger to Praxis. A teacher's story

  • Mandy Pierlejewski

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis documents my story as a teacher. It begins with an account of the end of my teaching career, narrating the story of my suspension from practice, based on an accusation of falsifying data. This constitutes the start of a fascination with datafication, which continues throughout the thesis. The exploration of datafication begins with the conceptualisation of datafication as a doppelganger or second self. The use of the doppelganger as a thinking-tool enables me to experiment with fighting against datafication in the form of the data-doppelganger. Following on from this critique of the existing system through the conceptualisation of the data-doppelganger, I return to the field in an attempt to resist the dominant discourse of datafication. An ethnographic participatory action research project provides me with an opportunity to move to a more active phase of the research, where I attempt to work with others to develop new ways of assessing children in early years. As my thinking develops following the research project, I produce myself not as a coherent subject but as a divided self, a new subjectivity which to me, makes sense of the conflicted world in which I find myself. This acceptance of the divided subject constitutes a resolution to the conflict I encounter within myself and enables me to engage in active resistance to datafication. My final paper, which provides an analysis of a Roma child's development from a Roma perspective, embodies this resistance. In it, I link thought and action in praxis to produce an alternative child subject, a subject not seen through the lens of datafication, but viewed through a Romani lens. In this way, the thesis tells the story of my experience of datafication, a journey from encounters with the doppelganger to a final act of praxis.
Date of Award31 Dec 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorCarlo Raffo (Supervisor) & Erica Burman (Supervisor)


  • Early Years
  • Doppelganger
  • Subjectivity
  • Datafication
  • Roma

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