The overarching questions which interest me

Following on from this post:

  • How is higher education changing? What are the consequences of these changes for scholarship? How are academics responding to these changes & what contribution are these responses making to the changes themselves? How are particular areas of activity being changed in the ‘accelerated academy’?
  • How do social entities (people, groups, movements, organisations) sustain an identity through changing circumstances? Are there generic processes of adaptation & fracture? When is one more likely than the other? Is it possible we will reach a point where ‘fragility’ tends to predominate across the social order? Case studies can inform our responses to these questions at all levels.
  • What are the consequences of digital technology (in the broadest sense) for sociology (in the broadest sense)? How does sociological practice need to change? How can the existing intellectual resources of the sociological tradition be utilised to meet contemporary challenges? Are there general trends we can identify in how digital technology is reconfiguring social life? What does sociology have to offer other disciplines that study these changes?
  • How is digital data leading to a reconfiguration of social life at the micro, meso and macro levels? How should we understand changes taking place in personal life (e.g. quantified self), organisations (e.g. metrics) and inter/national levels (e.g. digital surveillance, data economies) and how can these understandings inform our responses to the social & political challenges posed by digital data?
  • How can social ontology contribute to the investigation of these changes? How does social ontology tacitly inform sociological practice? Can we develop a normative account of social ontology through better understanding how ontological assumptions are made and the implications they have for practice? Do we need a ‘digital social ontology’ for a social world saturated with digital data & reconfigured by digital technology? How can social ontology contribute towards interdisciplinarity? Do we need to find new ways of communicating, discussing & debating social ontology?
  • How is social media being used within higher education? How can we use it to enhance existing practices & what new practices are emerging?
  • How do we become who we are? How do we understand processes of personal change in a sociological way? What kinds of people are emerging in the 21st century? Is this even a coherent sociological question to ask?

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