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  • Mark 7:27 pm on October 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Call for Papers: Journalism in the Age of Partisan Politics, Political Protests, and President Trump 

    Special Issue: Electronic Journal of Communication
    Journalism in The Age of Partisan Politics, Political Protests, and President Trump

    The current news environment is saturated with political tension and divisive issues.   Legacy news media and contemporary news outlets race to publish compelling content as they struggle to maintain their audiences.   Political leaks have become a staple of modern news. Journalists have found themselves covering ideologically charged protests involving immigration reform, Black Lives Matter, the KKK, environmental issues, and Civil War statues, while at the same time finding their authority and credibility challenged by persistent accusations of ethical violations, bias, and corruption.
    Meanwhile, social media sites provide an avenue for the public to present their own coverage and commentary related to all of these issues. Indeed, President Trump has turned toward social media as a way of presenting his own perspective on daily events.  Further, online media and traditional news providers  compete with the rumors, conspiracies, and “fake” news that permeates information space.  Increasingly, social media readers fail to distinguish fabricated news from authentic news.
    This special issue will focus on journalism during this time of social upheaval and political partisanship. All theoretical and methodological perspectives are welcome.

    Possible topics for papers might include, but are not limited to:

    *   ethical coverage of politics
    *   journalistic credibility/ audience trust in the current political climate
    *   political cartoonists’ response to political protests
    *   The challenges of “fake news” to legacy and online news sources
    *   The relationship between journalists and politicians
    *   The role of political leaks in news coverage
    *   Journalistic safety while covering political protests
    *   Citizen journalists’ use of social media to share political content
    *   The use of social media as a newsgathering tool
    *   Audience perception of news coverage
    *   The role of objectivity/fairness in political coverage
    *   The significance of political experts as news sources
    *   The role of the news pundit in political coverage
    *   The value of political news and information

    Deadline: Submit manuscripts through EJC’s online submission system at http://ejcojs.cios.org<http://ejcojs.cios.org/> by January 15, 2018 for consideration. Please be sure to submit to the journal section entitled:   Special Issue: Journalism in The Age of Partisan Politics, Political Protests, and President Trump.

    Format: Papers should be prepared in APA 6th Ed. Style. Remove all author-identifying information from the main manuscript for blind review. Manuscripts should be single spaced with tables/figures inserted where they belong; double-space between headings, subheadings, and adjacent sections; avoid breaking tables across pages. Please send manuscripts in .doc, .docx, or .rtf formats (not html).

    Questions: Please address any questions to the Special Issue Editor,  Jenn Burleson Mackay, Va Tech,  email: jemackay@vt.edu.  The call can also be found at:  http://www.cios.org/www/ejc/calls/mackay.htm

  • Mark 12:46 pm on October 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    How to trash the political rulebook 

    A fascinating insight from Steve Howell, deputy to Seumas Milne, concerning how to kick back against the ‘political rulebook’ beloved of the centrists:

    In his interview, Howell, who is writing a book called How the Lights Get In – Inside Corbyn’s Election machine, also described how the team around the leader faced scepticism from other parts of the Labour party at the start of the campaign.

    He said the group around Corbyn were warned that there were “certainties” in election campaigns that could not be shifted, including:

    • that you can’t move opinion more than 2 or 3% in a campaign
    • that online voter registration campaigns don’t work
    • that manifestos are irrelevant
    • that the reason “non-voters” are labelled as such is because they do not vote
    • and that the drop in turnout among young people was a “law of nature that was irreversible”

    Howell said Corbyn’s team could not “be a mirror image of their certainty” and be sure that their ideas would work, but they did believe it could be different, “that an online voter registration campaign could work; that you can expand the electorate; [and] that a transformative manifesto would have a broad appeal and excite people”.


  • Mark 4:51 pm on October 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Some thoughts on intellectual self-archiving 

    Anyone who has read my blog for a while will be aware that I use it to self-archive. As Cory Doctorow explains in this wonderful piece, it’s a mode of information storage suitable for those whose working lives revolve around the identification, evaluation and retrieval of information:

    I consume, digest, and excrete information for a living. Whether I’m writing science fiction, editorials, columns, or tech books, whether I’m speaking from a podium or yammering down the phone at some poor reporter, my success depends on my ability to cite and connect disparate factoids at just the right moment.

    As a committed infovore, I need to eat roughly six times my weight in information every day or my brain starts to starve and atrophy. I gather information from many sources: print, radio, television, conversation, the Web, RSS feeds, email, chance, and serendipity. I used to bookmark this stuff, but I just ended up with a million bookmarks that I never revisited and could never find anything in.

    Theoretically, you can annotate your bookmarks, entering free-form reminders to yourself so that you can remember why you bookmarked this page or that one. I don’t know about you, but I never actually got around to doing this — it’s one of those get-to-it-later eat-your-vegetables best-practice housekeeping tasks like defragging your hard drive or squeegeeing your windshield that you know you should do but never get around to.

    Until I started blogging. Blogging gave my knowledge-grazing direction and reward. Writing a blog entry about a useful and/or interesting subject forces me to extract the salient features of the link into a two- or three-sentence elevator pitch to my readers, whose decision to follow a link is predicated on my ability to convey its interestingness to them. This exercise fixes the subjects in my head the same way that taking notes at a lecture does, putting them in reliable and easily-accessible mentalregisters.

    Blogs are far from the only way to produce what Doctorow describes as “a central repository of all of the fruits of my labors in the information fields”. The commonplace book is an obvious precursor to the research blog. Luhman used a terrifyingly intricate filecard system. C. Wright Mills advocated a file or journal to keep track of ‘fringe thoughts’. Any system will entail certain constraints and affordances for your self-archiving. However, the usefulness of an archiving system will depend as much on how you use it as on which system you choose.

    It occurred to me recently that my self-archiving has become inconsistent. Whereas I went through a phase of putting everything on the blog, often leading to five or six posts per day, it’s now spread across a number of systems:

    1. Highlights and notes in Amazon Kindle
    2. Ideas grouped together in talks on Artefact cards
    3. Resources archived in a number of e-mail folders
    4. Points to explore archived in Notability
    5. Ideas placed directly into ongoing writing

    The first point troubles me because I despise Amazon yet become more dependent upon them with each day I use this system. The latter one in particular troubles me because I tend to over-write. I find producing words relatively easy and it’s only in the few years since my PhD that I’ve learned to edit myself properly. Therefore ‘fringe-thoughts’ that immediately find expression might end up being lost.

    The urge to capture everything might seem obsessive. However, there’s something genuinely exciting about the idea of building a living archive of your thought over a period of decades. This blog has been active since 2010, encompassing 3426 posts over almost 7 years. Looking back on it, I’m struck by how much my thought has changed in that time but also how many continuities there are. Things I struggled to express years ago are now clearly defined questions I’m addressing in my research.

    Perhaps I need to put more effort into this, embracing intellectual self-archiving as a commitment rather than merely a habit. Though it seems possible that simply having written this post, articulating the issues and archiving it in my ‘outboard brain’, might be sufficient to change my practice. It often is and that’s one of many things which is so engrossing about intellectual self-archiving.

  • Mark 6:48 pm on October 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , musical cultures, , , ,   

    The Social Ontology of ‘Free’ and ‘Open’ 

    I enjoyed the Japan in a Digital Age conference today, keynoted by the cultural anthropologist Ian Condry. He took an ethnographic approach to the decline of the recording industry, drawing on fieldwork in Tokyo, Boston, and Berlin to illustrate how musicians are adapting to the steady unwinding of the familiar commodity form for the production, circulation and consumption of music.

    That was the promise at least but there was little detail about the social and economic conditions of cultural producers. His argument was a theoretical one with a bit of ethnographic detail thrown in to illustrate his claims. In essence, Condry attacks the notion of value as something to be found at the moment of exchange, instead arguing that value is a complex phenomenon which waxes and wanes over time.

    If we see the value of music as embodied in musical commodities, we obscure the vast undercurrent of social activity upon which this depends. This passionate activity seems to be a world away from the economic interests of the musical conglomerates. But this notion of ‘passion’ can lead us to construct  commodification as something inherently  destructive of social value, taking an activity undertaken for its own intrinsic value and subordinating it to an exchange relation. From this perspective, the evisceration of music as a commodity (such that the exchange-value tends to continual shrinkage) seems like an opportunity to liberate the craft of music from the tyranny of exchange, as well as the apparatus of audit and accounting which surrounds it.

    However this simplifies the relationship between economic and social value, obscuring how the commodity form of music facilitates modes of social engagement with profound cultural value. In a nutshell: being able to make a living from producing your music facilitates a form of engagement with it that might not otherwise be possible. It could also constrain this, for instance by creating pressures to maximise sales even at the cost of cultural decline, but these cultural costs are contingent constraints rather than a necessary feature of the commodity form. What matters is the broader ecology within which this form is reproduced or transformed. The problem is the concentration of the existing music industry, rather than the organisation of musical production through making and selling work to an audience.

    I suspect the dichotomy of closed/open is part of the problem here. When we see one form of closure eroding, this dichotomy can lead us to assume it will be replaced by openness. Whereas in reality we can see one form of closure (musical conglomerates) being replaced by another (musical streaming, sales and crowd funding platforms). This engenders a certain naïveté about the challenges of cultural production in the gig economy, made worse if you have too much faith in your own ethnographic immersion in musical scenes.

    If you’re going to advocate for ‘free’ and ‘open’ as intrinsically valuable, it’s important to spend some time getting to grips with social ontology underlying these terms. It’s much trickier to grasp than it might initially seem.

  • Mark 12:24 pm on October 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    How can Sociology be inspired by its own archive? 

    What can sociology learn from its archive? In asking this question, I mean archive in the broadest sense, far beyond the formal outputs of the discipline. I spent much of yesterday in the Foundations of British Sociology archive at Keele University, gifted to the university by the Institute of Sociology when it dissolved in 1955. This was the precursor organisation to The Sociological Review, founded at LePlay House in 1930, when the original editor of the journal Victor Branford and his partner Sybella Gurney gifted their estate to the earlier Sociological Society. There’s a vast array of material in the archive and I’ve only reached the vaguest understanding of this institutional history. It contains papers from the following organisations and people:

    • Sociological Society
    • Regional Association
    • Civic Education League
    • LePlay House
    • Institute of Sociology
    • The Sociological Trust
    • LePlay House Press
    • The Sociological Review
    • LePlay Society
    • Victor Branford
    • Sybella Branford
    • Alexander and Dorothea Farquharson

    The archive is filled with historical curiosities which shed light on the history of the discipline, revealing the many changes but also the startling continuities. While the co-operation with the Eugenics Society seems startling from a contemporary point of view, it’s even more jarring to encounter concerned discussions about the style of the journal (insufficiently empirical and with literary pretensions that detract from sociological science) which could be encountered almost verbatim a century later.

    However what really fascinates me is the question of how Sociology can be inspired by its own archive: what practical initiatives have been undertaken in the past which we can learn from in the present? To give one example, the Memorandum on Tours summarises the public interest in the many regional surveys which were undertaken. These strange hybrid explorations of geography, anthropology and sociology apparently proved popular with a certain subset of the broader public:

    These Tours have aroused considerable interest amongst people to whom the ordinary Tourist Agencies offer no particular attraction. Quite a number of travellers have repeatedly joined the different parties setting forth from LePlay House during the past four years. Each Tour is accompanied by one or more persons distinguished for their knowledge of the history, ethnography, etc. of the particular country to be visited; also an unusual and pleasing feature of these Tours has been the cordial manner in which the University Authorities and other eminent men and women in the different Continental Cities have received the visitors and afforded them facilities for studying social life, customs and places of interest usually closed to the ordinary

    It struck me when reading this how the sociological walks organised for The Sociological Review’s conference next year could be seen as a tentative recovery of this tradition. What else can we find in there? What can we learn from it now? What practical projects might it inspire? These questions have been circling in my mind since visiting the archive yesterday and it has left me pondering something between cultural entrepreneurship and action research inspired by this archive. The undisciplining of Sociology, at least in the UK, proves eerily familiar when we read about the context within which the Sociological Society and the Institute of Sociology operated. The same is true of the sense of social and political urgency which motivated their work:

    But in the present disturbed state of the public mind there would seem to be open to the Society, two wider opportunities of public service. One is to promote an impartial and detached habit of mind in regard to current movements. The other is bring to bear on the manifold problems of Reconstruction, Civic, National and International such established truths as the present state of the psychological and social sciences affords. Hence an endeavour is being made to extend the Review to a wider circle of readers.

    I am convinced that Sociology can find inspiration in its archive. Get in touch if you’re interested in looking for it with me.

  • Mark 12:44 pm on October 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    things I’ve been reading recently #38 

    • The French Exception: Emmanuel Macron by Adam Plowright
    • Desperately Seeking Self-Improvement by Carl Cederström and André Spicer
    • Down The Rabbit Hole by Holly Maddison
    • The BBC: Myth of a Public Service by Tom Mills
    • The Assassination Complex by Jeremy Scahill and the Intercept Team
    • What Happened? By Hilary Clinton
    • The Conquest of Cool by Thomas Frank
    • From Counterculture to Cyberculture by Fred Turner
    • Radicals: Outsiders Changing the World by Jamie Bartlett
    • Infinite Distraction by Dominic Pettman
  • Mark 8:49 pm on October 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , computational skills, , , quantitative methods, ,   

    The sociology of quantitative methods in the U.K.  

    Some tweets about this blog post worry me because it appears as if people think this is my analysis. It’s not. These are my notes on the excellent paper below which I’d strongly recommend reading in full. 

    This thought-provoking article by Malcolm Williams, Luke Sloan and Charlotte Brookfield offers a new spin on the familiar problem of the quantitative deficit within U.K. sociology. Many accounts of this sort are concerned with the explanatory implications of this deficit (the phenomena that defy explanation without quantitative terms) while digital sociology is concerned with its implications for computational skills. However, the authors look to a deeper level: the tradition within British sociology which defines itself against quantitative methods. They explore this possibly by drawing a contrast between analytical sociology and critical sociology:

    Analytic sociology is the term often used to describe a quite specific version of scientific sociology that combines theories and empirical data to produce sociological explanations (Bunge, 1997; Coleman, 1986; Hedström, 2005; Hedström and Swedberg, 1998). It mostly employs mechanistic explanation and variants on middle range theory. Our use of the term ‘analytic’ encompasses this specific use, but is also broader and meant solely to indicate a sociology that aims to produce descriptions and explanations of social phenomena. It does not exclude ‘understanding’ as methodological virtue, nor does it deny the role of ‘critique’ as an element in the methodological toolkit. It certainly does not exclude qualitative methods and indeed the research described here has qualitative elements


    Their distinction tracks familiar oppositions between explanation/ understanding and positivism/hermeneutics. Their interest is in how the latter term in each pair was advantaged by the dynamics of expansion in U.K. universities, where (non-quantitative) sociology was a cheap route to expanded student numbers with little to no necessary capital investment. It was during this period of expansion during the 1960s that ‘scientific method’ began to be tied to militarism by the burgeoning anti-war movement. They argue that successive intellectual movements (postmodernism, the linguistic turn, the cultural turn) accentuated this antipathy, such that progressive thought came to be instinctively cautious about quantitative methods. This trend played out within the discipline, its students and teacher, rather than simply being located ‘out there’.

    They see this hostility as being dampened by the methodological pluralism encouraged by critical realism and mixed methods pragmatism. But for reasons I don’t understand, which seem to misread the motivations and methods of the critical realist project, incorporate them to analytical sociology:

    While there are important differences in the analytic approach (say between realism, post-positivism, and positivism), there is a common core as treating social phenomena as real (or a proxy for real) (Kincaid, 1996) that can be caused, or can cause other social phenomena. The analytic approach shares the common foundations of science: description, explanation, and theory testing and, more specifically, that through the use of appropriate sampling we can generalise from sample to population or from one time or place to another.


    These are precisely the features which what they call critical sociology rejects as “either methodologically impossible to achieve, in the social world, or ethically undesirable”. More positively, it is concerned with situated meaning and the possibility of emancipation. Their characterisation here is much vaguer but they admit there is an element of strawman to each. Their concern is with how these sociological stereotypes enter into the understanding of students, as extreme versions of actually existing tendencies take hold in the imagination of those who are the next generation of sociologists and the cohorts which the discipline sets loose upon the world.

    This is an important possibility because evidence suggests that sociology students are not driven by a fear of number in choosing their degree. Or at least that other mechanisms are at work in bringing about the quantitative deficit within U.K. sociology. The evidence they present suggests a humanistic understanding of sociology is dominant within the student body:

    Table 2 clearly shows that the majority of students scored the discipline as closer to the arts/humanities than science/maths. It has been speculated that students taking a prior A-levels in art might be inclined to see sociology as closer to the arts and those taking a mathematics A-Level as closer to science. In fact, though there was some variation at the different measurement points, more students in both groups still thought sociology nearer to the arts/humanities than the sciences.

    All but one of subsequent focus groups revealed a “proclivity towards the qualitative involving the theoretical and critique with scepticism about statistics and a clear preference from the students for doing discursive work”. The BSA survey, asking more nuanced questions than the aforementioned survey, produced a more cautious endorsement of sociology’s status:

    Table 4 shows that the majority of participants viewed the subject content (64.3%) and status (66.9%) of sociological research as closer to the arts and humanities. In terms of methodology, analytical tools, and public utility, sociology was seen as mid-way between the arts and humanities and the natural sciences

    Their overarching argument, supported by intriguing comparative data concerning sociology in Netherlands and New Zealand, concerns how a cultural antipathy to quantitative methods gets reproduced across successive professional cohorts (compounded by the marginalisation of quantitative methods teaching within the broader curriculum):

    Many, if not most, sociologists in UK universities have themselves come from a culture of sociology that emphasises critique over analysis, theoretical positions, and qualitative over quantitative methods of enquiry that reflect the historical influences on the discipline, as described above. This culture exists at all levels of teaching, from pre-university A-level teaching through to postgraduate training. Their attitudes and practices incline them ideologically and practically to favour a humanistic and critical attitude towards the discipline, the selection of research questions that require interpretive methods, and often either an expertise in these methods or a preference for theoretical reasoning alone

    The result is an absence of methodological pluralism within U.K. sociology, held it seems as a point of principle. They suggest this might also be coupled with a vague sense of persecution, as critical sociology perceives itself as being under threat in a discipline it in fact dominates.

    The ensuing ‘split personality’ might be a source of strength for the discipline in troubled times:

    In the UK, quite apart from sociology ceding many of its former areas of interest to other disciplines, what sociology is depends on who you ask. The appearance is one of fragmentation. Nevertheless, a counterfactual argument may go something like this: a fragmented discipline might also be described as a diverse one, whose survivability does not depend on the adherence to any particular paradigm. Psychology, for example, which has long been largely associated with experimental method, faces something of a crisis as the statistical reasoning that underpin the experiment have been increasingly challenged in the last two decades (see, for example, Krueger, 2001). Sociology, in the UK, may actually be more agile as a result of its analytic/critique split personality

    But crucially there is a risk of the quantitative practitioners exporting themselves from the discipline, even as its capacity to generate them increases:

    One might further speculate that those graduate sociologists, from universities with Q-Step centres or other more quantitatively inclined courses, will not necessarily work in sociology or identify as sociologists because they too see it as a primarily humanistic discipline based upon critique, but rather go to other disciplines or become generic ‘social researchers’ with a consequent continuation of the present situation where analytic sociology continues to be a minority pursuit within the UK discipline.

  • Mark 11:54 am on October 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    The coming big data revolution within higher education 

    It seems passé to talk about the ‘big data revolution’ in 2017. Much of the initial hype has subsided, leaving us in a different situation to the one in which big data was expected to sweep away all that had come before. Instead, we have the emergence of data science as well as the institutionalisation of computational methods, albeit unevenly, across the full range of the natural and social sciences. Furthermore, addressing the challenge posed by early waves of big data evangelicism to established methodologies, particularly those with a critical and/or hermeneutic focus, has generated a vast outpouring of creativity with the potential to generate significant reorientations within these disciplines. The ‘big data revolution’ has proceeded in a much more constructive way than those early prophets of epochal change were able to predict.

    However, we are still far from harmony within the academy. While the intellectual changes driven by big data are well underway, institutional changes of potentially greater importance are still in their infancy. This is how Susan Halford describes the politics of discipline surrounding big data:

    How we define Big Data matters because it shapes our understanding of the expertise that is required to engage with it – to extract the value and deliver the promise. Is this the job for mathematicians and statisticians? Computer scientists? Or ‘domain experts’ – economists, sociologists or geographers – as appropriate to the real-world problems at hand? As the Big Data field forms we see the processes of occupational closure at play: who does this field belong to, who has the expertise, the right to practice? This is of observational interest for those of us who research professions, knowledge and the labour market, as we see how claims to expert knowledge are made by competing disciplines. But it is also of broader interest for those of us concerned with the future of Big Data: the outcome will shape the epistemological foundations of the field. Whether or not it is acknowledged, the disciplinary carve-up of big data will have profound consequences for the questions that are asked, the claims that are made and – ultimately – the value that is derived from this ‘new oil’ in the global economy.


    We can see rapid transformation at this level, with expertise in the social and natural sciences responding to the opportunities and incentives which big data has brought with it. The institutional landscape has begun to change, most notably around funding, with important consequences for how individual and collective agents plan their career-path through this environment. However, this is still unfolding within organisations that have not themselves undergone change as a result of big data. It is this which is likely to change in the coming years. As WonkHe reported earlier this week of the consultation on how the Office for Students will regulate providers of higher education in England:

    The consultation will also be looking at the nuts and bolts of the OfS – how will it balance the demands of competition and autonomy while maintaining “proportionate” regulatory approaches? How will the remarkable new powers of entry (extreme audit?) be used? What sanctions will be available to the new regulator, and how will they be applied? Following strong ministerial direction, we can also expect measures on senior staff pay to feature prominently, but what form will they take, and will they have any real teeth? And how will approaches compare to other sectors?

    Widely expected is an end to regular institutional visits – the “periodic review” is likely to be replaced by a new method for the OfS to use live data to monitor institutions. It may well be easier than the annual submission, but now is a good time to be a big data wonk, as new systems and process will need to be established in institutions to respond to a new approach.

    This concern for real time metrics, institutionalising transactional data into the fabric of higher education itself, only seems likely to grow. What does this mean for the politics of discipline? My hunch is that the big data revolution within higher education has only just begun and that it’s eventual form will be different to that which most predicted.

  • Mark 12:31 pm on October 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Erving Goffman: the rag-and-bone man of Sociology 

    There’s a wonderful essay by the playwright Alan Bennet in the London Review of Books, written 35+ years ago, reflecting on his fascination with Erving Goffman’s micro-sociology. His preoccupation was with the minutiae of everyday conduct, identified and described so astutely in Goffman’s work. Sociological observations in this register highlight our commonality, helping us see that individual experiences we assumed to be idiosyncratic are in fact shared by others.

    But while sociology itself remains arcane, this power is mere latency, standing as “a secret between me and the author” with the incidents in question “our private joke”. As Bennett puts it, “Individuals knew they behaved in this way, but Goffman knew everybody behaved like this and so did I”. There is a pleasure to be taken in such private jokes, so easily guarded through insular vocabularies within peripheral publications. Even if, as Bennett observes, “the books I once thought so private are piled promiscuously on any campus counter at the start of every term”, the power of these observations remains limited to a small subset of those within the walls of the university campus.

    If the work of any sociologist could breach these boundaries, it surely was Goffman’s. Much as Sociology is a scavenger discipline, Goffman himself was a scavenger intellectual, producing texts strewn with ephemera collected from beyond the rarefied boundaries of the ivory tower:

    Sociology begins in the dustbin and sociologists have always been licensed rag-and-bone men trundling their carts round the backyards of the posher academic establishments. The Benjamin Franklin Professor has done the rounds of more backyards than most, scavenging in anthropology, psychology and social administration, besides picking up a lot of useful jumble ‘on the knocker’: his books are larded with strips of personal experience, enlivened with items from newspapers, the annals of crime and the dustbins of showbiz. It’s this (and the look of so many quotations on the page) that makes his work initially inviting and accessible to a general reader like me. He writes with grace and wit and raises the odd eyebrow at those in his profession who don’t, though he can’t be too censorious of jargon, having invented a lot himself.


    He writes in a “vivid, impressionistic way” which often remains “tentative and exploratory”. It is this mode of expression which ensures that he “so regularly startles one into self-recognition”, as his predominately descriptive analysis proves able to make the familiar strange. Bennett cites Goffman’s own statement of ambitions in Frame analysis:

    I can only suggest that he who would combat false consciousness and awaken people to their true interests has much to do because the sleep is very deep. And I do not intend here to provide a lullaby but merely to sneak in and watch the way people snore.

    I’ve often wondered about the impulse beyond reality television. I recognise this is a complex topic that has produced a vast and multifaceted literature. But I sometimes suspect there’s a sociological impulse at work in its popularity, alongside many other factors shaping ‘supply’ and ‘demand’. Do many of us share a fascination with watching how people snore?  This curiosity about others, what we share with them and how they differ, provides a foundation for interest in sociological observation which is predominately met from outside the academy. Goffman’s was an unusually descriptive sociological imagination, prone to making the familiar strange and the strange familiar, but it was a superlative example of this pole of the sensibility that invited others with a more explanatory disposition to build upon his work. As Bennett goes on to write:

    I go to sociology, not for analysis or explication, but for access to experience I do not have and often do not want (prison, mental illness, birthmarks). Goffman treats these closed areas as lying alongside normal experience (or the experience of ‘normals’) in a way that makes them familiar and accessible. The approach is robust, humane and, despite his disclaimer, moral. ‘The normal and the stigmatised are not persons but perspectives,’ he writes in Stigma, ‘and it should come as no surprise that in many cases he who is stigmatised in one regard nicely exhibits all the normal prejudices held towards those who are stigmatised in another regard.’


    He goes on to explain how Goffman’s concepts come to form part of individual experience, as the possibility of categorising changes our relationship to that which we categorise:

    One of the pleasures of reading Goffman is in taxonomy: items that one has had lying around in one’s mind for ages can be filed neatly away. Like a caption I saw years ago and am delighted now to dignify as a leaky utterance: a newspaper picture of a drama group headed ‘Blackburn Amateurs examine each other’s parts.’ And another (which ought to be in Goffman’s book if only because the reasoning behind the remedial work is so complex and ultimately futile). Dorothy Killgallan, an American columnist, began a radio talk: ‘Tonight I am going to consider the films of Alfred Hitchcack … cock! … CACK!’ I wouldn’t like to see Mr Schegloff et al. let loose on that one.


    Reading Bennett’s account renews my confidence that there’s a public interest in Sociology of the sort I’ve always been drawn to, far beyond any instrumental concern for application. It can illuminate the human condition, enriching individual experience, if it is written and presented in a way which facilitates the exercise of this power. Unfortunately, the academy militates against this but social media offers opportunities to circumvent these constraints.

    • Martha Bell 9:27 pm on October 14, 2017 Permalink

      Lovely post Mark.

    • Mark 6:00 pm on October 16, 2017 Permalink

      Thanks, it’s a wonderful essay it responds to. Possibly one of my favourite ones by a non-sociologist about sociology.

  • Mark 1:38 pm on October 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Vested interests in ‘openness’ 

    To talk of ‘openness’ conveys a sense of lightness, gesturing towards a world without self-interested boundaries. In a world dichotomised in terms of open/closed, barriers are seen as obstacles to be surmounted in order that we might have free exchange. Overcoming these obstacles becomes a moral project, imbued with a sense of historical change: barriers are fleeting constructions, inevitably eroded by the force of openness. As the futurist Peter Schwartz once put it:

    Open, good. Closed, bad. Tattoo it on your forehead. Apply it to technology standards, to business strategies, to philosophies of life. It’s the winning concept for individuals, for nations, for the global community in the years ahead.

    These categories are embedded in narrative forms, facilitating certain roles (e.g. the disrupter of closed industries) which elevate business activity to a heroic plane, as Audrey Watters conveys on loc 184 of The Curse of the Monsters of Educational Technology: 

    “The Silicon Valley Narrative,” as I call it, is the story that the technology industry tells about the world—not only the world-as-is but the world-as-Silicon-Valley-wants-it-to-be. This narrative has several commonly used tropes. It often features a hero: the technology entrepreneur. Smart. Independent. Bold. Risk-taking. White. Male. “The Silicon Valley narrative” invokes themes like “innovation” and “disruption.” It privileges the new; everything else that can be deemed “old” is viewed as obsolete. Things are perpetually in need of an upgrade. It contends that its workings are meritocratic: anyone who hustles can make it. “The Silicon Valley Narrative” has no memory, no history, although it can invent or invoke one to suit its purposes. (“ The factory model of education” is one such invented history that I’ve written about before.) “The Silicon Valley narrative” fosters a distrust of institutions—the government, the university. It is neoliberal. It hates paying taxes. “The Silicon Valley narrative” draws from the work of Ayn Rand; it privileges the individual at all costs; it calls this “personalization.”

    My instinct as a qualitative researcher is to immerse myself in these stories, seeking to appreciate how they operate to make sense of one’s own actions. But the reason this is so pressing is that the action they serve to elevate is so often problematic, as Franklin Foer points out on pg 89-90 of his A World Without Mind. They have a vested interest in ‘openness’:

    There’s no doubt that they believe in their own righteousness, but they also practice corporate gamesmanship, with all the established tricks: lobbying, purchasing support in think tanks and universities, quietly donating money to advocacy groups that promote their interests. The journalist Robert Levine has written, “Google has as much interest in free online media as General Motors does in cheap gasoline. 13 That’s why the company spends millions of dollars lobbying to weaken copyright.” Google and Facebook penalize companies that don’t share their vision of intellectual property. When newspapers and magazines require subscriptions to access their pieces, Google and Facebook tend to bury them; articles protected by stringent paywalls almost never have the popularity that algorithms reward with prominence. Google, according to documents that have surfaced in lawsuits against the company, is blunt about using its power to bend the media business to its model. Jonathan Rosenberg, the vice president of product management, told company brass in 2006 that Google must “pressure premium content providers to change their model to free.” 14 It’s a perfectly rational stance. The big tech companies become far more valuable if they serve as a gateway to free knowledge, if they provide a portal to an open and comprehensive collection of material.

  • Mark 6:27 pm on October 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,   

    An interview with Stand Up magazine about social media and fragile politics 

    Social media is often accused of being an echo chamber, but has it played a role in empowering marginalised people and elevating their voices?

    It has and it’s important that we don’t lose sight of this when we focus on the problems which social media is creating for politics. In recent years, cyber-utopianism has been discredited and that’s a good thing, if we hope to realistically appraise the political consequences of these technologies. It’s much less common now to find people making the case that digital media will empower individuals, undermine hierarchy and usher in a brave new world. This utopianism was rooted in a particular time and place, providing a technological equivalent to the breathless rhetoric of figures like Anthony Giddens and Tony Blair who claimed we were moving ‘beyond left and right’.

    But an increasing scrutiny of the darker sides of digital media, particularly post-Trump, too often obscures the continued positive capacities of these technologies to bring people together and articulate a collective claim on the world. These positive and negative aspects co-exist: the risk of the echo-chamber is an unfortunate byproduct of the mechanisms through which social media allows new collectives to form. Nonetheless, we need to remember that this isn’t an inexorable consequence of the technology itself. Some of the unfortunate features of online political culture are as much a reflection of long-term political disengagement, particularly the decline in trade union and political party membership, as they are the influence of the technology itself. We can and should reclaim a positive vision of the capacity of social media to empower marginalised people and elevate their voice, while being realistic about some of the risks inherent in doing this.

    Is activism through social media effective?

    It depends what you mean by ‘effective’. It can demonstrably be an extremely powerful way of gathering people together in a particular place at a specific time. Furthermore, it can do so in a way which extends beyond existing networks, reducing the reliance of mobilisations on the more traditional forms of engagement such as stalls, leafletting and canvassing, seen most prominently during national elections. However there are important questions to be asked about whether this is necessarily a good thing. It might be easier to assemble people together but what do they once they are there? Can you keep them together after the initial assembly? The sociologist Zeynep Tufekci has convincingly argued that networked protests don’t develop organisational capacities because of precisely this ease of assembly. They may be able to draw people out in large numbers but they’re ill-equipped for articulating demands or developing strategies, leaving them easily outmanoeuvred by more traditional political organisations. Social media offer powerful tools for movements but they also create problems.

    Social media has been talked about a lot with regards to democracy after Trump’s win. Do you think there’s really any understanding of just how well social media can be used to campaign? It feels as though politicians may not have even scratched the surface, at least that we know of.

    There’s a lot of hype surrounding social media and elections, much of which is indistinguishable from marketing material for the companies involved. Cambridge Analytica is the most prominent example of this, held up by some critics on the left as a terrifying exemplar of the coming digital authoritarianism in which elections are won by whoever can employ the most data scientists. Coincidentally, these claims about their influence match those made by the company itself, albeit without the critical spin. We need to be careful about blindly reproducing claims made concerning the role of social media in elections by companies whose raison d’etre is to help exploit social media data (alongside other sources) for electoral gain. Nonetheless, there clearly are changes underway. The role of technology in politics has never been static. There’s no reason to believe social media would be any less significant for electoral politics than radio and television were, as well as many reasons to suspect they might prove to be more so. It’s just important that we remain critical of the vested interests of those who are already playing this game.

    Online harassment has not really been tackled and marginalised people are especially at risk (shown best perhaps by ‘Gamergate’). Is it a risk that social media is empowering the wrong voices and shutting down democratic debate?

    It’s not so much that social media empowers the ‘wrong’ voices, as that the incentives for democratic debate aren’t there. Meaningful dialogue is a slow, difficult process which is particularly difficult when it takes place between those who lack trust in the good-will of those they are talking to. This would be difficult under the best of circumstances but it’s close to impossible within the environments of most social media platforms. For all the participatory rhetoric which surrounds them, the underlying economy is one of visibility and this is something accrued through generating a reaction. It might be that this reaction is praise for slowly and carefully seeking to understand the position of a person you are debating with. But it’s much more likely to be a witty quip that appeals to the lowest common denominator of potential viewers.

    This is the problem on a micro-scale. Now what happens when millions of these interactions feed into each other over years? We have increasingly toxic cultures, driven by expectations of behaviour, within which harassment thrives. Only the most naive person could claim social media had created the hate we can see in so many corners of the internet. We live in a racist, classist, sexist, ableist, homophobic and transphobic world. But social media has created an environment in which this hate can be leveraged for visibility as far too many aggressively people compete to be seen to the exclusion of the dialogical and relational powers of these technologies. I’m not a pessimist about social media but I am increasingly a pessimist about people.

  • Mark 6:21 pm on October 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , online debate, , ,   

    Debate on YouTube: a guest post by Fred McVittie 

    Outline and Rationale

    The Youtube platform has, since its earliest inception, offered the opportunity for topics of interest to be ‘debated’.  Initially these debates were informal (i.e. not following any of the recognised structures of debates) and usually used the ‘video response’ function.  This functionality was removed from the site in 2014, and whilst response videos are still made they do not have the profile they once had (and now tend to appeal more to ‘pwnage’ than honest argumentation).

    More recently debating has returned to the site through the use of Google Hangouts, which allow disputants to engage ‘live’ with one another in an online version of more traditional debating formats, c.f. The debate between Dr Kristi Winters and Carl Benjamin (Sargon of Akkad).  This debate had many of the features of a standard debate, including the presence of a moderator, time-limited Opening and Closing Statements, and opportunities for Rebuttals, again time-limited.

    (It is worth noting that this online version of a debate had the advantage of allowing participants to cite their sources and have them appear in the description of the video, a feature not present in live offline debates).

    There are advantages and disadvantages to both of these systems:

    Video Responses:

    • Advantages
      • They are naturally time-limited without the need for moderation
      • Opportunity for good preparation
      • Sources offered by ‘opponent’ can be considered
      • New sources can be found to advance one’s argument
      • Input can be given by viewers which might be taken into consideration
      • Video response format is not limited to ‘talking head’ and might include graphics, quotations, clips from video being responded to etc.
    • Disadvantages
      • Potential difficulty in following chain of debate (particularly since video response feature was removed from Youtube).
      • Different subscriber numbers for participants might mean different viewing numbers for the ‘sides’ of the debate.
      • Response videos have something of a bad reputation.

    Google Hangout/Livestream

    • Advantages
      • Liveness
      • All the debate is in one place
      • Familiarity (they are similar to offline live debates)
      • Rebuttals are spontaneous, therefore indicator of live knowledge (maybe)
      • Questions and comments from viewers can be collected from Chat (not necessarily an advantage).
    • Disadvantages
      • As with live debates, they prioritise rhetorical flair and quick-wittedness over capacity to marshal information to construct an argument or rebuttal.
      • Don’t allow for checking of sources.
      • Doesn’t (necessarily) allow for an ‘equilibrating’ of styles.
      • Is constrained to talking head format.
      • Potential technical problems with live streaming.
      • Can be over-long
      • Different experiences for ‘live’ viewers (who have access to the Chat feature) vs. those watching the recording later.

    A disadvantage shared by both systems is that the Youtube environment is not always supportive of ordered discourse.  Comment sections particularly can become hostile or partisan, neither of which condition contributes positively to the advancement of intelligent life.


    To initiate a system which combines the advantages of Video Responses with those of Hangouts/Livestreaming.  The following structure is proposed:

    1. Debates are between two participants.
    2. A specific proposition is selected in advance, with participants taken the position of ‘Proposer’ (arguing the Affirmative) and ‘Respondant’ (arguing the Negative).
    3. Each participant makes a 10 minute video containing their Opening Statement with regard to the proposition.
    4. These Statements are uploaded to Youtube and set to go live at the same time.
    5. After a fixed period of time, say 24 hours, each participant uploads a Rebuttal video to Youtube, again set to go live at the same time.
    6. A second Rebuttal video is uploaded and made live a fixed period of time after that, say a further 24 hours.
    7. Participants each upload a final video containing their Closing Statement after a final fixed period of time.
    8. (Optional) Participants take part in a joint hangout in which they discuss the debate.
    9. All videos are posted onto a website set up for the purpose.
    10. Comments on the website are moderated according to clear guidelines.
  • Mark 5:16 pm on October 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    The screams of ‘post-truth’: the rise and fall of the political commentator 

    The political shocks of the last two years, Brexit and Trump, find reflection in a newer and darker language in which politics is discussed within the mainstream media. We are said to have entered an era of ‘post-truth’, within which facts no longer matter as the electorate fragments into self-referential communities locked inside their filter bubbles and liable to be manipulated by shadowy actors on the sidelines. Established wisdom, things every sensible person knows to be true, loses its power as the dark overtures of the populists lead the masses in ever greater numbers from the centre-ground that would otherwise be their home. These are dark times. Winter is coming.

    Unless you see much of this as self-indulgent catastrophising by an insular cultural elite only now becoming cognizant of their declining status. Their capacity to consecrate facts is being eroded by alternative sources of legitimation, encouraging them to lash out at these nascent rivals without confronting the lessons that could be learned from their rise. There are important social, political and cultural consequences to how these commentators respond to their decreasing centrality, as emerging leaders reject the unspoken Faustian pact that has been the norm for decades.

    It’s for this reason that I’m interested in the lifeworld of political commentators. Tom Mills adroitly captures this on loc 2036-2059 of his The BBC, discussing current Today anchor and past BBC political editor Nick Robinson:

    For Robinson, politics is, in short, what politicians say and do, and the task of the political correspondent, meanwhile, is to effectively communicate and explain this, as well as the formal political process, to viewers and listeners. His job as political editor, he declared during a stretch at ITN in the same role, was ‘to report what those in power were doing or thinking’ –or, as he later wrote in his book Live From Downing Street, to expose ‘publicly what many know to exist privately: tension between colleagues, policy contradictions or a failure to have thought through a policy clearly’. Robinson has undertaken this task with gusto, describing with great clarity and inordinate enthusiasm the personalities, cliques and machinations of Westminster politics.


    At best, the sort of approach Robinson exemplifies makes for accomplished insider journalism, offering a window on the insular world of high politics, bringing greater transparency and thereby enhancing democracy. The reality, though, has been far less satisfying. The approach tends to foster an elitist, ‘insider’ perspective on politics, encouraging viewers to see it as a strategic game between its leading players –with whom viewers are encouraged to identify –rather than a system of public deliberation over social policy or contestation over the distribution of wealth and power.

    He goes on to quote Andrew Marr reflecting on ‘his trade’, particularly the harmony of perspectives achieved between politicians and commentators through any number of interpersonal interactions:

    If you really talk with a politician about their in tray, and the problems of rival departments, or of dodgy past initiatives, it is hard to avoid seeing things their way. The same perspective that gives you insight, also blunts your hostility. So is it better to stand outside, defiantly ignorant, making judgments that the crowd will applaud? There is no final answer. If you don’t form close understandings with senior politicians so that you can hear them think aloud honestly in a relaxed way then you are unlikely to understand much of what is really going on. Yet if you do then you drift closer to them emotionally and may very well flinch from putting the boot in when they have failed in some way.

    Populism represents a rupture in a previously harmonious system of relations between politicians and commentators. Other figures contributed to this harmony, such as political consultants and PR specialists, with some exploiting their “marketable connections in the intertwined world of media and politics” to move back and forth between these worlds (loc 2102-2122). However, something fundamental has broken, reflecting an objective transformation in status and a subjective recognition of this fact by the commentators. Will they (re)harmonise with populist leaders in spite of their significantly decreased influence within such a relationship? Or are the days of the centrist insider political commentator numbered?

  • Mark 1:36 pm on October 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    CfP: The Social Lives of Digital Methods 

    3. JANUARY 8-12, 2018


    The Digital Methods Initiative (DMI), Amsterdam, is holding its annual
    Winter School on ‘the Social Lives of Digital Methods: Encounters,
    Experiments, Interventions.’ The format is that of a (social media and
    web) data sprint, with hands-on work for telling stories with data,
    together with a programme of keynote speakers and a Mini-conference,
    where PhD candidates, motivated scholars and advanced graduate
    students present short papers on digital methods and new media related
    topics, and receive feedback from the Amsterdam DMI researchers and
    international participants. Participants need not give a paper at the
    Mini-conference to attend the Winter School. For a preview of what the
    event is like, please view short video clips from a previous edition
    of the Summer School, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nTxwl_kA5I.

    Over the past decade digital methods of various kinds have been put to
    use by data journalists, national ministries, non-governmental
    organisations, city governments, media artists, police departments,
    international organisations, philanthropic funding agencies in the
    service of a wide variety of projects and objectives. Within the
    academy digital methods have spread from researchers of the internet,
    new media and computational culture, leading to encounters and
    experiments with a wide range of disciplines in the humanities and
    social sciences, working with their own publics, partners, questions,
    concerns and modes of inquiry with and about the digital. That one may
    intervene with digital methods is clear, but the question concerns the

    Extremism and counter-terrorism units may wish to map online networks
    of groups and individuals. Under which circumstances and with which
    ethics to act? City governments may be interested in how to use
    platform data to inform their responses to emerging “gig” and
    “sharing” economies said to be changing the character of housing,
    transport and work. When an analyst finds concrete instances of
    over-renting properties, does one share the findings and if so how?
    Non-governmental organisations would like to know whether their
    anti-fossil fuel campaigns are reaching audiences outside of their own
    bubbles. How to make such questions relevant for academic research?
    Funders would like an issue area and the stakeholders mapped, but what
    if one finds that the funders are overdetermining the agenda of the
    field? How might the style of digital methods work on secure messaging
    apps vary, depending on whether the audience is critical media
    scholars, privacy advocates or public institutions?

    Researchers in fields such as science and technology studies and
    ethnomethodology have long pointed out that methods are not only used
    by researchers to study social life, they are also a part of social
    life (see, e.g. Garfinkel, 1984). This notion has been further
    elaborated and explored through a more recent agenda on the “social
    life of methods” (Ruppert, Law, & Savage, 2013). Digital methods and
    data projects can be used to create not only novel styles of analysis,
    but also different kinds of “interactivity” (Marres, 2017) — from
    involving those who are researched in the research process, to
    different forms of participatory design, public involvement and
    experimentation. Such encounters may produce changes in the analytical
    interests and approaches of both researchers and practitioners, and
    may be considered a substantive part of the research process, rather
    than a communicative afterthought.

    At the 2018 Digital Methods Winter School we would like to put forward
    positioning practices that address working with practitioners together
    with the projects (and data sets) they bring along. The Winter School
    has as its goal to take stock and tell stories of interventions and
    the positionings one was able to take up. How to navigate the space
    between scholarly research, practitioner expectation and critical
    output? Additionally the Winter School will make interventions,
    working together with ‘publics with an ask’.


    The annual Digital Methods Mini-Conference at the Winter School,
    normally a one-day affair, provides the opportunity for digital
    methods and allied researchers to present short yet complete papers
    (5,000-7,500 words) and serve as respondents, providing feedback.
    Often the work presented follows from previous Digital Methods Summer
    Schools. The mini-conference accepts papers in the general digital
    methods and allied areas: the hyperlink and other natively digital
    objects, the website as archived object, web historiographies, search
    engine critique, Google as globalizing machine, cross-spherical
    analysis and other approaches to comparative media studies, device
    cultures, national web studies, Wikipedia as cultural reference, the
    technicity of (networked) content, post-demographics, platform
    studies, crawling and scraping, graphing and clouding, and similar.


    The deadline for application is 7 December 2017. To apply please send
    along a letter of motivation, your CV (including postal address), a
    headshot photo, 100-word bio as well as a copy of your passport
    (details page only). Notifications of acceptance will be sent on 8
    December. If you are participating in the mini-conference the deadline
    for submission of your paper is 2 January. The mini-conference takes
    place on Friday 12 January 2018. Please send your mini-conference
    paper to winterschool@digitalmethods.net
. To attend the Winter
    School, you need not participate in the mini-conference. The full
    program and schedule of the Winter School and Mini-conference are
    available on 4 January 2018.

  • Mark 9:19 am on October 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , ,   

    The Mediatization of Time 

    ZeMKI international conference „The Mediatization of Time“
    December 6-8, 2017

    Conference venue:
    Swissôtel Bremen
    Hillmannpl. 20, 28195 Bremen, Germany

    University of Bremen, ZeMKI, Centre for Media, Communication and Information Research

    Recent innovations in the digitalization and datafication of communication fundamentally affect how people conceptualize, perceive and evaluate time to create the kind of world they live in. The conference invites participants to think through the interplay of media and data in respect of the way social time is constructed, modulated, and experienced. This allows to appreciate how new technologies and representations deeply affect the temporal organization of today’s media suffused societies, and it also sheds light on transformations in mediating time. We assume that mediatization as a fundamental societal change that interweaves with the development and spread of communication and information technologies leaves its mark on the ways we process and order the pace, sequence, rhythms and of social reality.

    This conference invites to think through the role of media and data people have or had at hand to time their interactions, relations, and states of being.

    The conference is organized by Christian Pentzold and Christine Lohmeier from the ZeMKI, Centre for Media, Communication and Information Research, University of Bremen in cooperation with Anne Kaun, School of Culture and Education, Södertörn University, Stockholm.

    Registration for non-presenting participants is open until November 30, 2017. Please register with an e-mail to mediatizedtime@uni-bremen.de <mailto:mediatizedtime@uni-bremen.de>, providing your full name, your affiliation and postal address as well as your status: (1) undergraduate/doctoral student or (2) postdoc/professor/other. The registration fee for status group (1) is 20 euro and for status group (2) 40 euro, not including the conference dinner. The registration is only valid with a written confirmation by the conference team.

    Participants can book hotel rooms for special conference rates at the Hotel Bremer Haus <https://www.google.de/maps/place/Novum+Hotel+Bremer+Haus/@53.080269,8.816544,15z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0xa6937aadfdd13625?sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwikr-aQ0NvWAhVDBsAKHY5yBZcQ_BIImwEwCg> (code: “Mediatized Time”) and Star Inn Bremen <https://www.google.de/maps/place/Star+Inn+Hotel+Premium+Bremen+Columbus,+by+Quality/@53.0822375,8.8093874,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x47b1281208a44ec3:0x65076cdb209c6922!8m2!3d53.0822375!4d8.8115761> (code: “Mediatized Time”) by the end of October 2017.

    Conference programme

    December 6, 2017

    Get Together (http://www.canova-bremen.de)

    December 7, 2017

    Welcome – Convenors

    *Helge Jordheim (Oslo U, Norway)

    *Response: Emily Keightley (Loughborough U, UK)
    *Response: Staffan Ericson (Södertörn U, Sweden)

    Coffee & Tea

    *Karin Deckner (U of the Arts, Berlin, Germany): Eigenzeit and media-based Eigenzeit as „Heterochronie“
    *Tim Markham (Birkbeck, U of London, UK): Subjective engagement in an age of distraction: In defence of temporal discontinuity and ambivalence
    *Christian Schwarzenegger (Augsburg U, Germany): Reclaiming Time from the Media – Disconnection and temporal autonomy in times of digital perma-connectivity
    *Martin Hand (Queen’s U, Canada): iTimes? emerging practices of negotiation, synchronization, and coordination


    *Tim Highfield (Queensland Tech, Australia): Socially mediated moments and memories: Now, then, and the tangled temporality of digital media
    *Manuel Menke (Augsburg U, Germany): Time as Contrast: Constructing Temporalities of the “Before” and the “After” Online
    *Kenzie Burchell (U of Toronto, Canada): Managing the Platform Communication Environment: Observable Social Practices as Time Regulators and Time Meters

    Coffee & Tea

    *Maria Rikitianskaia & Gabriele Balbi (Lugano U, Switzerland): Wireless Around The Clock: Introducing Time Signals By Wireless Telegraphy in the 1910s
    *Oliver Görland (Rostock U, Germany): Media Use In Situ: Dead Time and the Acceleration of Life
    *Jean-Claude Domenget (U de Franche Comté, France) & Carsten Wilhelm (U of Haute Alsace, France): Recent French perspectives on temporalities in media and communication research
    *Sabine Bosler (U of Haute Alsace, France & Olivier Thevenin (Paris New Sorbonne U, France): The Paris Series Mania Festival and the Attention Economy”

    Roundtable: New Perspectives on Media, Data and Temporality (Andreas Hepp (Bremen U, Germany), Espen Ytreberg (Oslo U, Norway), Elizabeth Prommer (Rostock U, Germany), Lee Humphreys (Cornell U, USA), Paddy Scannell (U Michigan, USA)

    Dinner (https://www.tenduere.de)

    December 8, 2017

    *Motti Neiger (The Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew U. & Netanya Academic College, Israel) “”On Collective Vision: The Mediatization of Shared Social Future”
    *Mike Ananny (Annenberg School for Communication, USC, USA)

    • Response: Lee Humphreys (Cornell U, USA)

    Coffee & Tea
    *C.W. Anderson (Leeds U, UK) & Henrik Bodker (Aarhus U, Denmark): Deep, Shallow, and Ecstatic Time in an Age of Data and Mediatization

    • Wiebke Loosen (Bredow Hamburg) & Andreas Hepp (U Bremen): Where the future is already the present. How pioneer journalists construct the future(s) of journalism

    *Sarah Kohler (Klagenfurt U, Austria): The Adaptation of Temporal Structures in Times of Mediatization: the Two Approaches of SPIEGEL Online
    *Sarah Bishop (City U, NYC, USA): Finding the Time: Digital Storytelling and Narrative Fatigue

    Lunch and Farewell

    INTO THE FUTURE with comments from Peter Lunt (Leicester U, UK), Irene Neverla (Hamburg U, Germany), Johan Fornäs (Södertörn U, Sweden)


    Conference website:
    http://www.zemki.uni-bremen.de/en/events/conferences/the-mediatization-of-time.html  <http://www.zemki.uni-bremen.de/en/events/conferences/the-mediatization-of-time.html>

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