November 29th and 30th
Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge

Organised by Jana Bacevic, Mark Carrigan and Filip Vostal 

Keynote: Liberalism Must Be Defeated: The Obsolescence of Bourgeois Theory in the Anthropocene by Gary Hall, Director of Centre for Postdigital Cultures at Coventry University, UK.

The conference seeks to conceptualise change in contemporary knowledge production in a way that transcends the dichotomy between theoretical frameworks that emphasise the role of humans (e.g. pragmatism, cultural sociology, critical realism, Bourdieusian sociology) and those that seek to dissolve the human and/or focus on non-human actors (actor-network theory, poststructuralism, STS, new materialism, transhumanism). Bringing together scholars in social sciences and humanities whose work engages with relationships between the human, post-human, metrics, and agency in the ‘neoliberal’ university, the conference addresses the methodological implications of how we theorise human agency, the agency of technical systems, and the relationships between them, in order to foster and support critical scholarship and engagement the current (and future) socio-political environment requires.

It is by now widely accepted that the transformation of the structures of governance and funding of higher education and research – including pressures to produce more and faster, and the associated proliferation of instruments of measurement such as citation (‘H’) indexes and rankings – pose serious challenges to the future of the academia. The critique of these trends has mostly taken the form of calls to ‘slow down’, or assertion of the intrinsic value/unquantifiable character of scholarship, particularly in the social sciences and humanities. While these narratives highlight important aspects of academics’ experience of neoliberal restructuring, they often end up reproducing the inter- and intra-disciplinary division between theoretical and interpretative frameworks that foreground human agency (focusing on student movements, working experiences of academics, or decision-making) and those that foreground the performativity of non-human agents (focusing on the role of metrics, indexes, analytics or institutions).

This intellectual fragmentation constrains attempts to study these processes in genuinely interdisciplinary ways. On the rare occasions when meaningful exchange does happen, conceptual, ideological, and institutional fault lines hinder sustained dialogue, often leading to the reassertion of old certainties in lieu of engagement with complex relational, institutional, socio-technical, and political/policy realities of transformation. The conference aims to provide an intellectual and institutional framework that challenges this dichotomy, and seeks to develop ways of thinking that are mutually reinforcing, rather than exclusive. It focuses on the issue of the (post)human as the ontological underpinning to the descriptive and explanatory work needed, as well as the normative horizon for resistance.

It links with preceding events in Accelerated Academy, an international interdisciplinary network assembled to develop new approaches to the analysis of higher education around critical interrogation of the concept of ‘acceleration’. The first event (Prague, December 2015) focused on metricisation and power in the academy; the second, smaller symposium (Warwick, September 2016), was dedicated to theories and experiences of anxiety and work in relation to acceleration; the third (Leiden, December 2016) to the politics and sociology of evaluation in universities; the fourth (Prague, May 2018) explored academic timescapes and the challenges posed by their complexity; the fifth (Cambridge, June 2018) reflected on the role of agency in the transformation of the academy.

This conference engages with and responds to the growing interest in scholarship on trans- and post-humanism, and its impact on understanding change in the context of knowledge production. It also has wider theoretical significance, as the intellectual dichotomy of the human and non-human is confronted in any attempt to understand socio-technical changes unfolding in digital(ised) capitalism. In this sense, we aim to address broader questions of social ontology and explanatory methodology posed by the imbrication of the social and the technical, and, not less importantly, the questions this raises for conceptualising agency and resistance in the ‘accelerated’ academy.

We invite contributions for 30 minute talks which speak to any of these themes. If you would like to submit a proposal then please contact mac228@cam.ac.uk with a 500 word abstract and short biographical note by 10th October.

There will be no charge to attend the conference. If you would like to attend as a non-speaker then please e-mail the address above to be added to the list. 

This one-day event intends to raise awareness of the Foundations of British Sociology archive maintained by Keele University. This remarkable resource collects a diverse array of materials from the 1880s to the 1950s, gifted to the university when the Institute of Sociology was dissolved in 1955.

‘Members of the societies founded The Sociological Review, contributed to early University teaching of Sociology, published many books and papers and collected survey material from the UK and Europe. The archive comprises personal papers, business records, newspaper cuttings, lectures, reports, plans, surveys, lantern slides and an extensive collection of books from the LePlay House Library. It includes material relating to key activists and opinion-shapers such as Victor Branford, Francis Galton, Patrick Geddes, H. G. Wells, Lewis Mumford and Alexander Farquharson on themes such as the responsibilities of the state and the citizen, planning urban development, the position of women, the role of technical education, local government reform, regionalism, the co-operative movement, rural society and the family. Researchers will find valuable materials on the origins of modern British sociology, and related social sciences such as social psychology, cultural geography, town planning and demography’ (Source, Keele University).

Here are some of the materials I looked at on a recent visit:

It’s a fascinating resource with relevance to people working on a whole range of research topics. If you’re interested in attending our workshop on October 11th at the University of Keele then please apply online here. If you’re interested in the archive but can’t make the event then feel free to get in touch.

Cousins are childhood playmateswho become lifetime friends..png

On September 8th I’m going to walk nine miles from the top of my street in Cambridge to Chittering in Cambridgeshire. Will I survive walking without an experienced navigator or a reliable 3G signal? Will I slip out of exhaustion and fall into the Cam? Will I ever make it home to Molly?

The only way to find out is to sponsor me, as much or as little as you can, before I set out in one month’s time. You can donate online here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mark-carrigan2

This one-day event intends to raise awareness of the Foundations of British Sociology archive maintained by Keele University. This remarkable resource collects a diverse array of materials from the 1880s to the 1950s, gifted to the university when the Institute of Sociology was dissolved in 1955.

‘Members of the societies founded The Sociological Review, contributed to early University teaching of Sociology, published many books and papers and collected survey material from the UK and Europe. The archive comprises personal papers, business records, newspaper cuttings, lectures, reports, plans, surveys, lantern slides and an extensive collection of books from the LePlay House Library. It includes material relating to key activists and opinion-shapers such as Victor Branford, Francis Galton, Patrick Geddes, H. G. Wells, Lewis Mumford and Alexander Farquharson on themes such as the responsibilities of the state and the citizen, planning urban development, the position of women, the role of technical education, local government reform, regionalism, the co-operative movement, rural society and the family. Researchers will find valuable materials on the origins of modern British sociology, and related social sciences such as social psychology, cultural geography, town planning and demography’ (Source, Keele University).

We look forward to welcoming delegates to Keele University where they will have a chance to explore this rich resource and discuss the enduring cultural, historical and evidentiary value of this archive for British Sociology.

Confirmed Speakers:

David Amigoni (Keele University), Helen Burton (Keele University), Gordon Fyfe (Keele University), Rachel Hurdley (Cardiff University), Rebecca Leach (Keele University), Chantelle Lewis (Goldsmiths).

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Application to Attend

TSRF have 20 places available to attend this workshop. As places are limited they will be allocated through a competitive application process. Applications will close 17th August, 17.00 BST. Decisions will be communicated early September 2018.

The application form can be found here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1r8RhiHsBI-vR4s-XHgxpJA28pD08Sos1MHsejdUT724/edit

Applications will be peer reviewed by Sociological Review editorial board members. Consideration will be given to research interests as related to the event, as well as distribution of career trajectory and institutions.

This event is free and lunch and refreshments will be provided. Places are limited and allocated via the application process. There are also a number of bursaries available for unfunded PGRs and ECRs.

*Please note, TSRF will not accept late applications under any circumstances.

Room Location and Accessibility Information

The event will take place in the Campus Library Training Room located on the top floor of Keele University library, Keele, Staffordshire ST5 5BG

Visitors can report to the Library counter on arrival and staff will direct you to the room. The main entrance to the Library is on the second floor, up an external staircase. The accessible entrance is on ground level. Non Keele card holders should press the intercom and a Library porter will give assistance. The library has an accessible lift to all three floors of the Library and the training room is wheelchair accessible.

All toilets, including the wheelchair accessible toilet, are on the ground floor.

For more details on accessibility to the library, please see here https://www.disabledgo.com/access-guide/keele-university/library-and-information-services-building

There are a number of disabled parking bays in front of the Library. If these aren’t available, any other space outside or near the Library can be used as long as a valid badge is displayed. A campus map and guide can be found here: https://www.keele.ac.uk/connect/howtofindus/maps/keele-campus-guide-colour.pdf

Bursaries

We have a limited number of bursaries for this workshop – including childcare bursaries. You can apply for a bursary if you meet TSRF criteria for funding. I.e. (1) unfunded postgraduate research students, (2) Early Career Researchers (ECR) within 3 years of completion of PhD and not in receipt of a full-time wage, and (3) others on the grounds of need (e.g. those in casual employment and not in receipt of a full-time wage).

Travel bursaries are limited at £100.00, childcare bursaries are limited to £50.00 per day of the event and day before if needing to travel and stay overnight. Accommodation will be organised by TSRF.

Please note, that if you have been awarded a place at The Sociological Review’s ECR writing retreat this year (2018) or a full bursary (travel and accommodation) at the Undisciplining conference or the ECR day, then you are not eligible to apply for event bursaries until next year (2019).

Contact Details

For academic enquiries related to this workshop, please contact Mark Carrigan: mark@markcarrigan.net

For enquiries related to applications, please contact Jenny Thatcher

December 13th-14th, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge

In recent discussions of capitalism, the notion of the ‘platform’ has come to play a prominent role in conceptualising our present circumstances and imagining our potential futures. There are criticisms which can be raised of the platform-as-metaphor, however we believe it provides a useful hook through which to make sense of how socio-technical innovations may be leading to a new phase of capitalist accumulation. To talk of ‘platform capitalism’ in this sense does not exclude consideration of parallel notions such as digital capitalism, data capitalism and surveillance capitalism but rather seeks to frame these considerations through a focus upon the platform as a novel assemblage.

While research into social media and the sharing economy is relatively advanced, the increasing centrality of platforms to the operation of the university remains understudied and undertheorised. Our conference seeks to rectify this, raising the possibility of the ‘platform university’ as a provocation to stimulate discussion concerning platforms, the commercial and academic science they depend upon and contribute to reshaping, as well as their implications for the future of the university. We see the university as a case study for inquiry into platforms, but also as a horizon of change within which the social sciences seek to address these processes.

We invite papers which address the full range of questions posed by these considerations, including topics such as:

  • The ontology of platforms
  • The epistemology of platforms
  • Methodological challenges in studying platforms
  • The transformation of the social sciences
  • The politics and political economy of platforms
  • Platforms as evaluative infrastructures
  • Platform education and the platform university 

There will be a keynote by Ben Williamson on The expanding data infrastructure of higher education: public-private policy networks and platform plug-ins.

We welcome abstracts of 500 words or less by July 31st 2018, sent to mac228@cam.ac.uk. Please include a brief biographical note, as well as three key words to categorise your submission. We also plan to publish a select set of papers as a special issue or edited book and are in conversation with journal editors and publishers. We hope to have limited travel and accommodation funding available for unfunded PhD students and post-docs but cannot confirm this at present.

Undisciplining Social Media Guidelines
@TheSocReview www.undisciplining.org #Undisciplining

Social media has been central to our journal in recent years, helping us build a new relationship with our readers and expand beyond our traditional audience. We enthusiastically embrace it as a means to promote sociological thought, as well as a way to work towards a more engaged and open culture within the academy. But making good on this promise requires that it is treated carefully. For this reason, we have included this document in each delegate pack, offering some principles and guidelines to inform your use of social media at Undisciplining. We have a few non-negotiable requirements, included after careful deliberation within our team, but mostly what we have included are pointers we hope will improve everyone’s social media experience at the conference.

General principles:

Be clear about what you are doing and why. It can be easy to slip into using social media in a habitual way, particularly when you’re waiting for a coffee break. But the more concrete you can be about your aims, the easier it will be to ensure you are using social media effectively. The table below provides an overview of conference social media activities and common reasons why these might be undertaken. It is by no means exhaustive so please don’t worry if you intend to use these platforms in a way we haven’t listed here but please talk to us if you have any doubts about its appropriateness after reading these guidelines. There are possibilities we haven’t listed here, such as live streaming and recording audio-visual material, which we request that you don’t use at the conference for reasons explained below.

Remember that people can have different interpretations and will bring different knowledge to the same situation. This might sound obvious but social media can make it hard to remember this by stripping interactions of context and presenting isolated units of communication in a way that is easy to misinterpret.

Source: xkcd. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License

We want people to be critical of the arguments they encounter but please try to be civil and give other conference goers the benefit of the doubt. People have a right to know what you are saying about them so please ensure you tag other users if you are talking about their contributions to the conference. Likewise please ensure you credit people appropriately, including relevant affiliations (most academic departments now have Twitter accounts) if the person in question does not have their own feed.  

Social media can often magnify disagreements and multiply misunderstandings. To paraphrase our favourite xkcd cartoon, if it begins to matter to you that someone is wrong on the internet then that’s a sign you should put down your phone or tablet and engage with the conference without social media for a bit. We want to use social media to help people at Undisciplining connect with each other and the last thing we want is for people to spend the event falling out over social media. We’ve worked hard to create a friendly, engaging and welcoming event so please do your best to approach each other with that ethos when you interact through social media.

Requirements:

  • Please ensure you use the #undisciplining hashtag on Twitter and Instagram. This will allow us to keep track of what’s happening on social media and curate this material before, during and after the event. We are keen to help people connect with each other and connect to other conference goers, so if you’d like us to recirculate something to other participants at the conference please tweet the request to us or e-mail community@thesociologicalreview.com.
  • Please follow the instructions of chairs concerning social media. While we encourage social media at the conference as a whole, speakers and organisers establish what they are comfortable with in their sessions. Therefore please listen to the guidance of the chairs and respect any concerns or requests made by speakers to this end.
  • Please refrain from using live streaming services like Periscope or Facebook Live during the conference. Many people are uncomfortable with the idea of being live-streamed and its immediacy can create problems, even for those who might be comfortable with the idea in principle.
  • Please refrain from recording audio or video at the conference. We have put a lot of time and energy into planning the multimedia being produced at the event. We want to ensure that we capture the event in the most effective way and ensure everyone is comfortable with the finished outputs.
  • Please be considerate in your use of photography at the conference. Photography is ok in the main auditorium unless otherwise specified. Please aim for crowds and avoid foregrounding individuals when taking photography outside of sessions. Avoid photography in workshops unless told it is ok.

If in doubt about something, please ask at any point. Tweet or DM us @thesocreview, e-mail our Digital Engagement Fellow directly at community@thesociologicalreview.com or speak to one of the conference team who can direct your query accordingly.

Thanks to the many people on Twitter I talked to directly and indirectly about these while planning them. 

June 8th, 12pm to 2pm, DMB 2S4
Faculty of Education, Hills Road, Cambridge

In the fifth event in the Accelerated Academy series, the Cultural Politics and Global Justice cluster at the University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Education hosts an afternoon seminar on critique and agency in the accelerated academy. How is temporality changing within the academy? What does this mean for our capacity to individually and collectively shape our working lives? Is there still space for critique within an academy where time pressure has become the norm?

  • Time present and academic futures – Jana Bacevic (Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge)
  • On Critical University StudiesAlison Wood (CRASSH, University of Cambridge)
  • The Coming of the Venture AcademicFilip Vostal (Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences)

Each speaker will talk for around 20 minutes, with time for questions. We will then open out for a broader discussion of the themes raised during the talks. For information about the Accelerated Academy project, see the website or special section of the LSE Impact Blog.

The Sociological Review are organising a conference unlike any other next month in Gateshead, UK. There will be sociological walks, a film festival, art work, participatory workshops, a diverse array of plenary sessions and much more. It will be preceded by an ECR day organised by the journal’s early career editorial board. Thanks to the support of the foundation, the conference only costs £100 (standard) and £50 (concessionary).

Only a week left to get your tickets: register here and don’t miss out! 

December 13th-14th, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge

In recent discussions of capitalism, the notion of the ‘platform’ has come to play a prominent role in conceptualising our present circumstances and imagining our potential futures. There are criticisms which can be raised of the platform-as-metaphor, however we believe it provides a useful hook through which to make sense of how socio-technical innovations may be leading to a new phase of capitalist accumulation. To talk of ‘platform capitalism’ in this sense does not exclude consideration of parallel notions such as digital capitalism, data capitalism and surveillance capitalism but rather seeks to frame these considerations through a focus upon the platform as a novel assemblage.

While research into social media and the sharing economy is relatively advanced, the increasing centrality of platforms to the operation of the university remains understudied and undertheorised. Our conference seeks to rectify this, raising the possibility of the ‘platform university’ as a provocation to stimulate discussion concerning platforms, the commercial and academic science they depend upon and contribute to reshaping, as well as their implications for the future of the university. We see the university as a case study for inquiry into platforms, but also as a horizon of change within which the social sciences seek to address these processes.

We invite papers which address the full range of questions posed by these considerations, including topics such as:

  • The ontology of platforms
  • The epistemology of platforms
  • Methodological challenges in studying platforms
  • The transformation of the social sciences
  • The politics and political economy of platforms
  • Platforms as evaluative infrastructures
  • Platform education and the platform university 

There will be a keynote by Ben Williamson on The expanding data infrastructure of higher education: public-private policy networks and platform plug-ins.

We welcome abstracts of 500 words or less by July 31st 2018, sent to mac228@cam.ac.uk. Please include a brief biographical note, as well as three key words to categorise your submission. We also plan to publish a select set of papers as a special issue or edited book and are in conversation with journal editors and publishers. We hope to have limited travel and accommodation funding available for unfunded PhD students and post-docs but cannot confirm this at present.

December 13th-14th, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge

In recent discussions of capitalism, the notion of the ‘platform’ has come to play a prominent role in conceptualising our present circumstances and imagining our potential futures. There are criticisms which can be raised of the platform-as-metaphor, however we believe it provides a useful hook through which to make sense of how socio-technical innovations may be leading to a new phase of capitalist accumulation. To talk of ‘platform capitalism’ in this sense does not exclude consideration of parallel notions such as digital capitalism, data capitalism and surveillance capitalism but rather seeks to frame these considerations through a focus upon the platform as a novel assemblage.

While research into social media and the sharing economy is relatively advanced, the increasing centrality of platforms to the operation of the university remains understudied and undertheorised. Our conference seeks to rectify this, raising the possibility of the ‘platform university’ as a provocation to stimulate discussion concerning platforms, the commercial and academic science they depend upon and contribute to reshaping, as well as their implications for the future of the university. We see the university as a case study for inquiry into platforms, but also as a horizon of change within which the social sciences seek to address these processes.

We invite papers which address the full range of questions posed by these considerations, including topics such as:

  • The ontology of platforms
  • The epistemology of platforms
  • Methodological challenges in studying platforms
  • The transformation of the social sciences
  • The politics and political economy of platforms
  • Platforms as evaluative infrastructures
  • Platform education and the platform university 

There will be a keynote by Ben Williamson on The expanding data infrastructure of higher education: public-private policy networks and platform plug-ins.

We welcome abstracts of 500 words or less by July 31st 2018, sent to mac228@cam.ac.uk. Please include a brief biographical note, as well as three key words to categorise your submission. We also plan to publish a select set of papers as a special issue or edited book and are in conversation with journal editors and publishers. We hope to have limited travel and accommodation funding available for unfunded PhD students and post-docs but cannot confirm this at present.

There’s a pretty brilliant programme of events we are running at Culture, Politics and Global Justice. I’m organising the platform capitalism reading group and the social media workshops. If you’re not already, follow us at @CPGJCam. We’ve got some really important stuff upcoming about both platform capitalism and social media for academics.

Digital Engagement in the Faculty of Education
26th April, 10:00-12:00, DMB GS1
Social media workshop by Mark Carrigan and Tyler Shores 

Theorising Race and Racism in Education Reading Group
27th April, 14:00-16:00, DMB 2S3
Full details: https://cpgjcam.net/reading-groups/theorising-race-and-racism-in-education/

Social Media and Scholarship
1st May, 12:00-13:00, DMB 1S3
Social media workshop by Mark Carrigan and Tyler Shores 

Platform Capitalism Reading Group (week 1)
2nd May, 16:00 to 18:00, DMB 2S5
Full details: https://cpgjcam.net/reading-groups/platform-capitalism-reading-group/

International Education Strategies between internationalization and nation-building: exploring the Canadian case 
4th May, 12:00-13:30, DMB 2S7
CPGJ Work in Progress Seminar Series: Hannah Moskovics

Social Media and Networking
8th May, 12:00-13:00, DMB 1S3
Social media workshop by Mark Carrigan and Tyler Shores 

Platform Capitalism Reading Group (week 2)
9th May, 16:00 to 18:00, DMB 2S5
Full details: https://cpgjcam.net/reading-groups/platform-capitalism-reading-group/

Theorising Race and Racism in Education Reading Group
11th May, 14:00-16:00, DMB 2S3
Full details: https://cpgjcam.net/reading-groups/theorising-race-and-racism-in-education/

Social Media and Impact
15th May, 12:00-13:00, DMB 1S3
Social media workshop by Mark Carrigan and Tyler Shores 

Platform Capitalism Reading Group (week 3)
16th May, 16:00 to 18:00, DMB 2S5
Full details: https://cpgjcam.net/reading-groups/platform-capitalism-reading-group/

War on universities? Neoliberalism, critique, performativity
18th May, 12:00-13:30, DMB 2S7
CPGJ Work in Progress Seminar Series: Jana Bacevic

Platform Capitalism Reading Group (week 4)
23rd May, 16:00 to 18:00, DMB 2S5
Full details: https://cpgjcam.net/reading-groups/platform-capitalism-reading-group/

Theorising Race and Racism in Education Reading Group
25th May, 14:00-16:00, DMB 2S3
Full details: https://cpgjcam.net/reading-groups/theorising-race-and-racism-in-education/

Platform Capitalism Reading Group (week 5)
30th May, 16:00 to 18:00, DMB 2S5
Full details: https://cpgjcam.net/reading-groups/platform-capitalism-reading-group/

Looking the gift horse in the mouth:  a case study of philanthropy in (mathematics) education research & development
1st June, 12:00-13:30, DMB 2S7
CPGJ Work in Progress Seminar Series: Steve Watson

Theorising Race and Racism in Education Reading Group
8th June, 14:00-16:00, DMB 2S3
Full details: https://cpgjcam.net/reading-groups/theorising-race-and-racism-in-education/

In recent discussions of capitalist transformation, the notion of the ‘platform’ has come to play a prominent role in conceptualising our present circumstances and imagining our potential futures. There are many criticisms which can be raised of the platform metaphor, however we believe it provides a useful hook through which to make sense of how social, economic, political, cultural and technological factors are collectively contributing to systemic transformation.

This intensive five week reading group explores platform capitalism, the growing focus on the platform and its implications for sociological and educational research. Each session will be an informal discussion of two papers, chapters, essays or talks:

The meetings will take place from 4pm to 6pm in DMB 2S5 in The Donald McIntyre Building in the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge. This is a fifteen minutes walk from Cambridge train station and we welcome all attendees. We would appreciate if you could e-mail your intention to attend to mac228@cam.ac.uk so we can update you with further details.

March 8th, 2018 9:30am to 5:00pm Wellcome Collection, London

After last year’s successful ‘Introduction to tools for social media research’, the SRA and #NSMNSS are teaming up again to deliver this one-day conference.

As social media research matures as a discipline, and methodological and ethical concerns are being addressed, focus is increasingly shifting on to the role that it can and should play in the social sciences.

The packed event will include keynote presentations from Steven McDermott and Suzy Moat, and examples from eight expert speakers of how social media research can provide insight into research questions in novel ways. It is aimed at social researchers who want to find out more about what this new methodology can offer, and see how the promises of social media research can be actualised.

Our speakers come from a range of backgrounds, including government and academia, presenting examples on topics such as politics and health, with data from Twitter, Facebook, blog sites and other platforms.

Register online here: http://the-sra.org.uk/event-registration/?ee=626

A BSA Digital Sociology Study Group event hosted by the Web Science conference at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam May 27th 2018

In more optimistic times we thought of ourselves as masters of digital technology: we told ourselves it was empowering, liberating, and democratising. Today, there is growing concern that we have ceded control of digital technology to digital capitalism’s rapacious market monopolisers whose former insiders, in their epiphanies, tell us have ‘ripped apart the fabric of society’. All corporate algorithms are black-boxedprotected by intellectual property law. Concepts that describe them such as AI and machine learning are problematically slippery and esoteric. So we are told algorithms that we can’t see or understand are to blame for digital capitalism’s social and political effects. This is a particular concern for sociologists because those who suffer material and social inequality are increasingly having their life chances defined by these algorithms (see for example Eubanks (2018)). Perhaps the tech companies aren’t “anymore equipped to self-regulate any more than the fossil fuel industry” (Umoja Noble, 2018): it would seem the best we can hope for is to judge them by their results, attempt to legislate, or petition technology’s plutocrats to stop ‘doing evil’.

All these issues, however, share an overarching theme: technologies are made and deployed within a political economy that incentivises, allows, enables or rewards actions that draw us away from visions of digital technology – particularly the Web – as a transporter for the Enlightenment’s values. Driven by the logic of extracting the maximum amount of the surplus value from our social and economic transactions and our (often very personal) data, these companies have ruthlessly and relentlessly pursued economies of scale to leverage their platform’s network effects: whatever the social cost. Interpreted through the political economy, problems with fake news, the attention economy, surveillance, the power of Silicon Valley etc. all demonstrate that politics, economics and digital technology are now indivisible. Addressing the political economy of digital technology more explicitly will help explain who are the ‘we’ in this instance, how have ‘we’ lost control and what do ‘we’ have to do to get it back?

This event will showcase some of the scholarship that is currently tackling these issues under the banner of Digital Sociology. As this event forms part of the 10th ACM Conference on Web Science speakers and delegates will have the opportunity to share insights with a broad community from a diverse range of academic and professional backgrounds. We also invite contributions from members of all disciplinary fields that provide insights into the relationship between digital technology and the political economy. How does the political economy affect your area of expertise? What needs to change and how can it be changed?

This is only a brief list of suggestions: we welcome contributions on any topic that addresses the day’s theme.

  • Fake news, propaganda and public (dis)information
  • The digital public sphere: reconsidering democracy
  • Digital surveillance, high volume data and governance
  • Changing and emerging industries
  • Digital labour
  • Digital inequalities
  • Digital wellbeing
  • Education

Provisional schedule for the day:

Besides the traditional papers presentations, the event organisers will experiment with other formats, such as the fishbowl, that will allow speakers to engage their audiences in more active ways.

  • 9.30 – 10.30 panel with crowdsourced questions from the Digital Sociology & Web Science communities (panellists TBC)
  • 10.30 – 13.00 paper session 1
  • 13.00 – 14.30 lunch (including networking events)
  • 14.30 – 16.00 paper session 2
  • 16.30 – 18.00 fish bowl – a moderated interactive session where attendees can have the floor to discuss the burning issues (including what a bigger Digital Sociology event should look like and how it could be organised).

To present your paper please submit an extended abstract (up to 750 words) to our easychair page here by midnight GMT on Friday the 2nd of March 2018. This should include an indication of the substantive issues and how they relate to the day’s central theme. Decisions on abstract submissions will be communicated by midnight GMT on the 23rd of March 2018.

Successful submissions will be put forward for journal special issue (details to follow shortly).

A breakdown for the registration fees for the day (and the full conference, which includes keynotes from Prof. José van Dijck, and Sir Tim Berners-Lee) can be found here.

After last year’s successful ‘Introduction to tools for social media research’, the SRA and #NSMNSS network are teaming up again on 8 March to deliver a one-day conference in London on ‘Answering social science questions with social media data’.

What role can social media research play in the social sciences? What are the questions it can help us to answer? Speakers from a range of backgrounds will talk about their experiences of using social media in their research, providing real examples of use to those interested in seeing how the promises of social media research can be actualised.

The packed event will include keynote presentations from Steven McDermott, Qualitative Analysis and Social Media Lead with HMRC and Suzy Moat, Associate Professor of Behavioural Science at Warwick Business School, and examples from eight expert speakers of how social media research can provide insight into research questions in novel ways. It is aimed at social researchers who want to find out more about what this new methodology can offer, and see how the promises of social media research can be actualised.

Our speakers come from a range of backgrounds, including government and academia, presenting examples on topics such as politics and health, with data from Twitter, Facebook, blog sites and other platforms.

To book and for the full programme, please see the SRA website

Date & time: Thursday 8 March 2018, 9.40am to 5pm
Venue:  Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BE

Price:  £115 (£95 for SRA members) includes lunch and refreshments

Delegate places: 100 

What role can social media research play in the social sciences? What are the questions it can help us to answer? Speakers from a range of backgrounds will talk about their experiences of using social media in their research, providing real examples of use to those interested in seeing how the promises of social media research can be actualised.

Press the ‘Register‘ button for more information and to book your place.

After last year’s successful ‘Introduction to tools for social media research’, the SRA and #NSMNSS are teaming up again to deliver a one-day conference on ‘Answering social science questions with social media data’.

As social media research matures as a discipline, and methodological and ethical concerns are being addressed, focus is increasingly shifting on to the role that it can and should play in the social sciences.

The packed event will include keynote presentations from Steven McDermott and Suzy Moat, and examples from eight expert speakers of how social media research can provide insight into research questions in novel ways. It is aimed at social researchers who want to find out more about what this new methodology can offer, and see how the promises of social media research can be actualised.

Our speakers come from a range of backgrounds, including government and academia, presenting examples on topics such as politics and health, with data from Twitter, Facebook, blog sites and other platforms.What role can social media research play in the social sciences? What are the questions it can help us to answer? Speakers from a range of backgrounds will talk about their experiences of using social media in their research, providing real examples of use to those interested in seeing how the promises of social media research can be actualised.

More details and registration available at the SRA website

After last year’s successful ‘Introduction to tools for social media research’, the SRA and #NSMNSS are teaming up again to deliver a one-day conference on ‘Answering social science questions with social media data’.

As social media research matures as a discipline, and methodological and ethical concerns are being addressed, focus is increasingly shifting on to the role that it can and should play in the social sciences.

The packed event will include keynote presentations from Steven McDermott and Suzy Moat, and examples from eight expert speakers of how social media research can provide insight into research questions in novel ways. It is aimed at social researchers who want to find out more about what this new methodology can offer, and see how the promises of social media research can be actualised.

Our speakers come from a range of backgrounds, including government and academia, presenting examples on topics such as politics and health, with data from Twitter, Facebook, blog sites and other platforms.