Matías Valderrama Barragán

Estudiante de doctorado en Estudios Interdisciplinarios del Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies de la Universidad de Warwick, Reino Unido. Sociólogo y Magíster en Sociología por la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. He trabajado en diferentes proyectos Fondecyt (N° 11140042, 1180062 y 1210006) y estudios para organizaciones no gubernamentales que han abordado las implicancias sociales de múltiples tecnologías digitales en Chile. También soy profesor colaborador del Magister en Ciencia, Tecnología y Sociedad, Universidad Alberto Hurtado del curso Internet y Sociedad. Mis áreas de interés son la Cultura Digital, Medios de Comunicación, Movimientos Sociales, Métodos Digitales, Estudios de la Vigilancia, Análisis de Redes, Teoría Social, entre otros.

PhD student in Interdisciplinary Studies at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, University of Warwick, UK. BA and MA in Sociology from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. I worked in different Fondecyt research projects (N° 11140042, 1180062 and 1210006) and studies for non-governmental organizations that addressed the social implications of multiple digital technologies in Chile. I have also been a collaborating professor of the Master in Science, Technology and Society, Universidad Alberto Hurtado. My areas of interest are Digital Culture, Media Studies, Social Movements, Digital Methods, Surveillance Studies, Network Analysis, and Social Theory, among others.

Publicaciones seleccionadas

Tironi, M., & Valderrama, M. (2022). Worth-making in a datafied world: Urban cycling, smart urbanism, and technologies of justification in Santiago de Chile. The Information Society, 38(2), 100-116, DOI: 10.1080/01972243.2022.2027587

In a milieu marked by increasing quantification of social life, many digital devices have emerged under the promise of a revolutionary change in areas such as urban planning and governance of Smart City projects. Starting from a pragmatist approach based on Boltanski and Thévenot’s “orders of worth” framework, we argue that the promoters of digital devices must justify their worth by developing “technologies of justification” that go beyond data. In this article, we use a multi-case study of three digital devices—RUBI, Kappo, and Bikelite—for urban cycling created in Santiago de Chile to analyze the material, narrative, and economic technologies of justification mobilized to establish the worth of the data that these devices extract, analyze, and visualize for urban governance. This comparative analysis helps us problematize the homogeneous, neutral, and efficiency-focused valuations that are typically ascribed to these devices by laying out the wide range of operations that are used to justify and secure the embedding of these digital devices in societies. We conclude by offering a series of analytical clues to what may be a new order of worth, or what we conceptualize as the “datafied world.”

English version

Tironi, M., & Valderrama, M. (2021). Microclimates of (in)security in Santiago: Sensors, sensing and sensations. En Klimburg-Witjes, N., Poechhacker, N. & Bowker, G.C. (Eds.) Sensing In/Security: Sensors as Transnational Security Infrastructures (pp. 50-75). Mattering Press.

Over the past ten years, a climate of fear and insecurity has developed in Chile. Despite the low homicide and crime rates, Chileans generally feel unsafe. This feeling is widespread in Las Condes, one of the country’s wealthiest municipalities. Inspired by the techno-imaginary of ‘smart cities’, the local government has introduced a series of ‘innovative. and ‘dynamic’ surveillance technologies as part of its effort to manage and secure urban spaces and wage a‘ war on crime’. These measures include the deployment of aerostatic surveillance balloons and more recently, highly sophisticated drones that deliver ‘personalised warnings’ in parks and streets. These drones and balloons offer the municipality a new vertical perspective and allow it to have a presence in the air so that it can give the residents a feeling of security. However, residents and local organisations have protested against the use of these technologies, citing profound over-surveillance and raising important questions about the use of these security devices. In this chapter, we argue that vertical surveillance capacities must be analysed not only in terms of the surveillance and control that they generate, but also the affective atmospheres that they deploy in the urban space and the ways in which these atmospheres are activated or resisted by residents. We reflect on how these technologies open up an affective mode of governance by air in an effort to establish atmospheres or micro-climates in which one experiences (un)expected sensations such as safety, disgust or indifference

Pre-Print Version

Tironi, M., & Valderrama, M. (2021). Experimenting with the Social life of homes: sensor governmentality and its frictions. Science as Culture30(2), 192-215.

Smart devices are invading everyday spaces like our bedrooms and living rooms, making it possible to conduct new participatory experimentations in the ‘real world’. An example is the National Housing Monitoring Network (Red Nacional de Monitoreo, ReNaM). By installing networked sensors in homes in different cities in Chile, ReNaM seeks to generate a large public database on the environmental behaviour of homes in real-life conditions and throughout their life cycle, in order to make data-driven policies and regulations on sustainable building. In this article, we argue that experiments with digital innovations like ReNaM are moving towards a ‘sensor governmentality’ or a mode of sensitive regulation of household behaviour at a distance, recomposing the relationship that the State establishes with its population. However, we find that this sensor governmentality is multivalent, fragile and friction-loaded. We analyse different scripts present in ReNaM and the frictions that emerge between divergent ways of materialising this sensor network from above and below. Moreover, the real environmental conditions and behaviours that the experiment seeks to capture through sensors are always challenged by the multiple entanglements that sensor devices unfold in domestic spaces, suggesting that affective and collective possibilities in these real-world experiments should be considered.

English Version

Tironi, M., & Valderrama, M. (2019). The militarization of the urban sky in Santiago de Chile: the vision multiple of a video-surveillance system of aerostatic balloons. Urban Geography, 1-20.

Under a climate of insecurity, two of the wealthiest municipalities in Chile implemented a controversial system of aerostatic balloons equipped with next-generation cameras for urban surveillance. The municipalities sought to use this technology, which was originally designed for war and border control, to manage public space more efficiently in the so-called “war against crime”. The balloons immediately met with opposition from those concerned about the invasion of privacy and hyper-surveillance that might involve in the city. This paper addresses the discourses of public officials and the critics involved in the controversy, but also explore in the maintenance operations of this surveillance system and the ways in which people live with the system on a daily basis. Through the analysis of the dynamics about, under and behind the balloons, the article shows how this foreign technology presents a vision multiple of the city that depends on entities and frictions that are not always considered in public debate.

English Version

Tironi, M., & Valderrama, M. (2019). Acknowledging the idiot in the smart city: Experimentation and citizenship in the making of a low-carbon district in Santiago de Chile. En A. Karvonen, F. Cugurullo & F. Caprotti (Eds.) Inside Smart Cities (pp. 163-181). Nueva York: Routledge.

This chapter examines the political capacities of Shared Streets experiment in the promotion of smart and sustainable cities. By describing the contingencies and controversies that emerged as a result of the efforts to ‘laboratorise’ the urban space towards low-carbon habits, it contributes to the discussion of how ‘smart citizen’ projects are translated and operationalised in specific contexts such as Santiago de Chile. The chapter analyses how the use of ideas of citizen participation and urban laboratories – which are being increasingly included in smart city strategies around the world – constitute true socio-material devices for justifying and legitimating institutional interests while limiting other modes of experimentation and smartness. To complement the narrative, political and technological aspects behind smart cities, it highlights two closely linked concepts: namely the ‘experimental’ and ‘citizen’ grammars that are increasingly infused into smart city programmes and their implications in cities of the Global South.

English Version

Tironi, M. & Valderrama, M. (2018). Unpacking a citizen self-tracking device: Smartness and idiocy in the accumulation of cycling mobility data. Environment and Planning D, 36(2), 294-312.

Based on the Smart Cities imaginary, the bottom-up project Stgo2020 created a self-tracking device known as Rastreador Urbano de Bicicletas (or Urban Bicycle Tracker) to record the daily trips of cyclists in Santiago de Chile and use the data gathered to help government officials make better and data-driven decisions on cycling infrastructure planning. In this article, we examine the iterative design of this technology as well as its introduction into the everyday practices of cyclists. We argue that efforts to quantify the ordinary experience of cycling were overwhelmed and interrupted by an ecology of breakdowns, everyday contingencies, forgetfulness, and re-interpretations in the assemblage of devices, data, humans, and bicycles. These breakdowns generated incoherent or absurd bits of information that we call them as “idiotic data” based on recent conceptualizations of the character of the idiot. Significant displacements were provoked by these idiotic data, forcing the engineer behind the device to control and purify the sample by design and algorithms, waning the civic nature of the project at the same time. The case shows how new ways of knowing the urban space by smart devices should be not separated from the emergence of idiotic data, putting into question the versions of citizen participation and smartness at stakes.

English Version

Valderrama, M., & Velasco, P. (2018). ¿Programando la creación? Una exploración al campo socio-técnico de YouTube en Chile. Cuadernos.Info, (42), 39-53.

En los últimos años, se ha prestado gran atención a la influencia que tendrían las plataformas digitales en las prácticas creativas de sus usuarios. Mediante un análisis cualitativo de entrevistas con creadoras y creadores chilenos de contenido audiovisual en YouTube, mostraremos cómo sus prácticas creativas se sitúan dentro de un emergente campo socio-técnico en el que se lucha por diferentes formas de capital. Este campo presentaría dinámicas particulares de distinción, reconocimiento y consagración, que estarían activamente moldeadas por los complejos sistemas algorítmicos y métricas que configuran la valorización y monetización de los contenidos.

English Version / Versión en Español

Valderrama, M. (2016). Los rastros digitales de lo social: Hacia una agenda de estudios digitales latinoamericanos. Contenido. Cultura y Ciencias Sociales 7, 126-149.

Las acciones de innumerables actores no sólo están siendo crecientemente mediadas por tecnologías y medios digitales, sino que además son inscritas en largas bases de datos que con métodos tradicionales sería dificultoso de manejar. Estos rastros digitales despliegan lo social en una nueva escala y están siendo recientemente reorientados desde las ciencias sociales. El presente artículo se propone dar breve revista a la literatura en torno a los denominados Big Data y métodos digitales, temas poco explorado hasta el momento en la región y que pueden constituirse como una valiosa fuente de información para la investigación social. Sin embargo, se destaca el peligro de terminar naturalizando la información digital, sobre todo ante la promesa de una mayor automatización y predicción. Desde un enfoque relacional se problematiza que detrás de la data digital existe una vida social con múltiples y heterogéneas entidades interfiriendo con diversos intereses. Esto nos compele a abrir los códigos y afirmar constantemente las limitaciones y “sesgos digitales” que se generan al analizar estos datos, pues darán cuenta de dinámicas sociales y asimetrías de poder empíricamente relevantes. En particular, examinamos a modo de ejemplo lo efímero que puede ser la Web, constituyéndose como un archivo digital dinámico siempre parcial y limitado. Producto de esta limitación, los estudios digitales se han restringido a temporalidades acotadas, cuando la incompletitud y falta de archivación de la Web deben ser problematizadas. Temas como éste, así como las nuevas brechas digitales esbozadas al final del artículo, demandan ser estudiadas críticamente desde Latinoamérica y el Sur global.

Versión en Español

Otras publicaciones

Valderrama, M. (2016). Siguiendo los hipervínculos de controversias socio-técnicas: el caso de HidroAysén. Revista Virtualis 7(14), 170-205. Recuperado de:

Valderrama, M. (2016). El devenir de la identidad digital: del yo proteico al yo identificado. Paakat: Revista de Tecnología y Sociedad, 6(11).

Tironi, M. & Valderrama, M. (2016). Urbanismo Militarizado y situación cosmopolítica: El caso de los Globos Aerostáticos de Vigilancia en Santiago de Chile. Revista Polis 15(44), 131-159.

Tironi, M. & Valderrama, M. (2016). Urbanisme militarisé et situation cosmopolitique. Le cas des ballons aérostatiques de surveillance à Santiago du Chili. Revue d’anthropologie des connaissances 10(3), 433-470.

Tironi, M. & Valderrama, M. (2016). Transformando la bicicleta en laboratorios móviles. El caso de un self-tracking ciudadano para la ciudad de Santiago. Revista de Antropología Experimental 16, 23-52.

Valderrama, M. (2015). La ambivalencia de lo virtual: una revisión filosófica. Revista Autónoma de Comunicación 8, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

Valderrama, M. (2015). La circulación de lo virtual. Desenredando las redes socio-técnicas del mercado de bienes virtuales de Tibia. Revista Doble Vínculo 6, 29-44

Valderrama, M. (2015). Las anticuadas descripciones de las nuevas tecnologías digitales. Revista Persona y Sociedad 29(2), 11-35.