Mary F.E. Ebeling, PhD

Professor of Sociology, Drexel University
Author, "Afterlives of Data"

Mary F.E. Ebeling is a Professor of Sociology and an affiliate faculty member in the Center for Science, Technology and Society, in the Culture, Communication and Media (CCM) and Center for Interdisciplinary Study, at Drexel University. Her research examines the intersections of gender, race, and digital technologies, data privacy, health marketing and medical capitalism. She is a visiting researcher at the Institute for Informatics (I2) at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (Missouri, USA). She was a fellow at the Wolf Center for the Humanities at University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, USA), the University of Surrey, (U.K.), and the Institute for International Education (Fulbright Fellowship) in Zimbabwe. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Advertising Education Foundation, the European Union’s 5th Framework, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC, U.K).

Her most recent book Afterlives of Data: Life and Debt Under Capitalist Surveillance (University of California Press 2022) examines data and debt subjectivities in healthcare through the cross-sector uses of clinical and other private health information by data brokers for marketing and other non-health related purposes. Afterlives reveals the industrial and legislative processes that Big Tech and information companies uses to create data commodities.

Mary Ebeling is an ethnographic sociologist who researches the political economies of health data at the intersections of marketing, health, biomedical science and digital life. My latest book Afterlives of Data: Life and Debt under Capitalist Surveillance (2022, University of California Press) will be available in June 2022 and examines how we are subjects of both data and debt. Healthcare and Big Data: Digital Specters and Phantom Objects (2016, Palgrave Macmillan) is focused on data brokers, data mining, marketing surveillance, private health data, and algorithmic identities. Over the last several years, Ebeling has become particularly passionate about “digital ontologies” and how our bodies, and the data they produce, are transformed into digital objects that live “lives of their own” in the databased society.