Time: Tuesdays 18:00-20:00 Uhr
Location: AH-A 217/18
The lecture series explores how to study media that are mobile, dynamic and highly situation based, such as data intensive software, mobile media practices, distributed platform infrastructures, automated and sensor based media or cloud computing among others. It explores interdisciplinary methodological approaches that do not only consider media as “in motion” and “in situ”, but also methodologies to study such media. Drawing on Lury and Wakeford’s idea of inventive methods, we start from the premise that methods are not inventive, mobile or situated in and of themselves, but can produce inventive insights when adjusted to their specific contexts. By engaging with different projects and disciplinary perspectives, we explore how to envision, design, adapt, realise and adjust research methodologies to dynamic and distributed media objects. We will engage with different methodological approaches including ethnomethodology, mobile methods, participant observation, sensory methods, software and platform analysis, mixed methods, issue and controversy mapping, digital sociology, technography and digital methods. Rather than just providing an introduction to these approaches, we will explore them in action and discuss central problems and challenges of aligning method to phenomenon and question.
Among the key concerns we attend to are: What does it mean to re-deploy data produced by platforms for research purposes? How can we study black boxes and algorithms? What is the objective of academic media research if platform companies have much better access to user data? What are the implications if digital media are not only the site of study but also the means to access data?
The aim of the lecture series is to introduce students to the current state of the art in methodological development for media research and equip them with insights into crafting creative methodologies for their own projects. The lecture series brings together both international guests and members of the graduate school Locating Media who will present and discuss ongoing research projects. Among the confirmed guests are Richard Rogers (Amsterdam) who will talk about social media metrics, Noortje Marres (CIM Warwick) introducing digital sociology, Taina Bucher (Copenhagen) who will show how to study social media platforms through technography, Liliana Bounegru and Jonathan Gray (UK) who will discuss research/ing infrastructures within academia, civil society organisations and data journalism as well as Patrick Vonderau (Stockholm) who will speak about the ethical challenges when studying the music streaming platform Spotify. The talks will be both in English and German. No previous knowledge is needed, students should just be interested in doing empirical media research and listening/discussing in English.
Sam Hind (Siegen)
Bumps in the Road: Navigating a Driving Future
Cornelius Schubert (Siegen)
The material semiotics of technographic inquires
Asli Telli (Siegen)
Neo-Platform Culture of face/action: Patterns of Digital Commoning
Genealogies of the Social Interface?
Artem Shiliaev (Siegen)
Studying Online Communities: Automated Research Data Management
Simon Hirsbrunner (Siegen)
Mapping (the making of) climate futures
Roger Norum (Siegen)
Ethnographic Research Methodologies and the Impulse to Innovate
Gastvortrag Noortje Marres (Warwick)
Digital bias in and as practice?
Online data and software tools have been widely taken up to research social life, but their objectivity continues to be questioned in the social sciences and humanities: the data sets are incomplete, the tools don’t let us answer the important questions. Arguably, however, problems of ‚digital bias’ are changing face. Classic work on bias as a sociological phenomenon – Becker on lablleing; Hacking on interactive kinds – are becoming newly relevant, as digital platforms get caught up in interactive societal processes, whereby discriminatory content gets promoted online, and ’smart‘ services privilege some demographics over others. This paper will examine how sociological concerns with bias pertain to today’s digital societies, and ask: What is the contribution of praxiography to the elucidation of digital bias? In what ways do phenomena of digital bias pose a productive challenge for praxiology?
Gastvortrag Richard Rogers (Amsterdam)
Otherwise engaged: Social Media from vanity metrics to critical analytics
In the age of social media the dominant mode of engagement is distraction. Whilst appearing oxymoronic, distracted modes of engagement have invited the coining of such terms as ‘flickering man’, ‘continuous partial attention’ and ‘ambient awareness.’ One’s engagement in social media (however distracted) is also routinely measured. Klout scores and similar are often called ‘vanity metrics’ because they measure success or ’success theater’ in social media. The notion of vanity metrics implies at least three projects: a critique of metrics concerning both the object of measurement as well as their capacity to measure unobtrusively or only to encourage performance. The second is a corrective interface project, for users are continually distracted by number badges calling to be clicked; there is a movement afoot (initiated by John Seely Brown) for so-called ‘encalming technology’. The talk, however, focuses on the third project, i.e., how one may rework the metrics. In all, I make four moves. In an application of digital methods, which seeks to repurpose online devices and their methods for social research, I propose to repurpose Klout scores and other (media monitoring) engagement measures for social research. Building upon ‘alt metrics’ for science, an alternative metrics project, I propose another one, albeit for social issue spaces rather than for science. In order to do so, I call for a change in the networks under study by social researchers, that is, a shift from the social network (with its vanity metrics) to the issue network. The change of networks (so to speak) enables concentrating on the opportunities for an alternative metrics for the social (together with social issue engagement), which I call critical analytics. Critical analytics would seek to measure the ‘otherwise engaged,’ or other modes of engagement (than vanity) such as dominant voice, concern, commitment, positioning and alignment, thereby furnishing digital methods with a conceptual and applied research agenda concerning online metrics.
Richard Rogers is Professor of New Media & Digital Culture, Media Studies, University of Amsterdam. He is director of the Govcom.org Foundation as well as the Digital Methods Initiative, known for the development of the Issuecrawler and other software tools for the study of the natively digital. Rogers also directs the Netherlands Research School for Media Studies. He is author of Information Politics on the Web (MIT Press, 2004), awarded best information science book of the year by the American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIST) and Digital Methods (MIT Press, 2013), awarded outstanding book of the year by the International Communication Association (ICA). Rogers has received research grants from among other institutions as the Open Society Foundations, Ford Foundation, MacArthur Foundation and Gates Foundation.
Arantza Begueria (Siegen)
Gastvortrag Jonathan Gray & Liliana Bounegru (London)
Studying Fake News in Digital Culture
Gastvortrag Taina Bucher (Copenhagen)
Towards a technography of media, or how to make technology talk
Gastvortrag Patrick Vonderau (Stockholm)
Spotify Teardown: Interventionist Methods in Media Industries Research
Facebook, Netflix or Spotify prefer being called platforms rather than media companies but it matters to consider them as firms acting on or re-defining markets. Not only in regard to policy but also when it comes to disciplinary frameworks, approaches, and research ethics. Drawing from organizational and economic sociology, among others, this paper suggests a critical view on digital media companies as action nets and on the dynamics unfolding within platform systems. It presents digital research methods and selected findings of an interdisciplinary four-year project that aimed to ‘teardown’ Spotify conceptually and publicly by engaging an understanding of method as a “creative act” (Sandvig and Hargittai 2015). Corporate agendas often run counter to critical research interests; how to deal with this legal and ethical challenge proactively and in inventive ways? Where to expect legal limits to digital methods in platform audit testing?