Call For Papers: Eastern Sociological Society Digital Sociology Mini-Conference

I had the pleasure and privilege of attending and presenting at the Eastern Sociological Society’s conference in New York in February this year, and it was a fascinating, invigorating, and thoroughly useful and challenging event.

There was a wide range of speakers and attendees from a wide range of backgrounds, all with useful thoughts and ideas on the present and future of Digital Sociology. I’d thoroughly recommend it to anybody and am hoping to go again in 2016.

The 2016 event is to be held in Boston, at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel and Towers, March 17-20, and the Call For Papers is below. I’m submitting a paper on digital identity, and hope to see you all there!


Digital Sociology Mini-Conference

In keeping with the Eastern Sociological Society’s theme of “My Day Job: Politics and Pedagogy in Academia,” the Digital Sociology Mini-Conference seeks papers that address the many digital ways of knowing, particularly as those impinge on the work we do as scholars, both within and outside the academy. We seek abstracts, and wholly constituted panels, on a wide range of topics, including, but not limited to, the following themes:

·       Public Scholarship, Digital Media and the Neoliberal University: How is the participation of scholars on public, digital media platforms regarded within the neoliberal university?

·       Digital Sociologists, Legacy Institutions: What does it mean to do digital sociology within institutions that are steeped in legacy modes of rewarding scholarship? How are scholars navigating the landscape of getting hired, tenured and promoted with a strong digital presence, or without one?

·       Digital Sociological Methods: How do traditional, analog sociological methods become digital? Are there new, “born digital” sociological methods? Is knowledge production different now? Will big data replace survey methodology?

·       Critical Theories of the Digital Itself: How have we theorized the digital? What challenges does the digital pose to epistemologies underlying sociological methods?

·       Digital Structures, Digital Institutions: The datafication of everyday life is posing unique challenges to the composition of social institutions and giving rise to new instantiations of education, finance, labor, and governance. How do we theorize, study, and conceptualize the recomposition of these institutions?

·       Identity, Community, and Networks: How do sociological concepts of micro and macro, personal and public, “front stage” and “back stage,” evolve as digital and mobile technologies increasingly blur these boundaries? How do digital environments shape identities of race, gender, sexuality and queerness? And how do the identities of those who create the platforms we use shape the platforms? How do race, gender, sexuality and queerness shape the communities and networks in which we participate?

·       Digital Pedagogies, Digital Sociology: How are digital technologies changing the sociological classroom? Beyond simply a recitation of ‘what I did in my class,’ we’re interested in theoretical and empirical explorations of how to think about digitally-informed pedagogies in the sociology classroom.

We encourage submissions from scholars at all levels, and are particularly enthusiastic to support the work of graduate students and early career researchers. We welcome submissions for individual papers and for entirely constituted sessions. The organizers share a commitment to creating a field that honors diverse voices, and as such are excited to see scholars from groups that are typically underrepresented in sociology. When proposing entirely constituted panels, please keep this commitment to diverse voices in mind.

If you have any questions about proposals, topics, or session ideas please contact one of the organizers: Leslie Jones (lesjones@sas.upenn.edu), Tressie McMillan Cottom or Jessie Daniels (jdaniels@hunter.cuny.edu).

For individual presentations, please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words, as well as the title of the paper, name of presenter, institutional affiliation and contact details.   For wholly constituted sessions, please include a short description of the concept behind your session, and then include all of the abstracts (along with names and affiliations of presenters) in one document. Deadline: October 19, 2015.  Please email your submissions to: ESSDigitalSociology@gmail.com.   Those whose proposals are not accepted for the Mini-Conference will be alerted in time to submit to the ESS general call for submissions.


#SuperBloodMoon. How the Internet is augmenting our experiences of the world around us.

Last night (and in fact even as you read this today) a natural event was augmented and shared worldwide by the Internet.

#SuperBloodMoon highlights how the Internet and the offline world are not so separate, and how it is increasingly difficult to separate the two as separate spheres. Instead, the Internet is augmenting and changing the way millions of people experience the world and experience nature.

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Facebook and the LGBTQ problem

The last week has seen some tremendous steps taken for the advancement of LGBTQ rights, a fact that was rightly celebrated by many. One of the main and most visible way people chose to celebrate was through a Facebook image filter, which overlaid your profile picture with a rainbow flag in support of LGBT rights. This was tremendously popular way of showing support for the LGBT community, as well as celebrating Pride week, and the Supreme Court decision.

Leaving aside the fact that Facebook are most likely recording your use of this feature, this case raises some issues with regards to Facebook’s general policies towards the LGBT community, and, importantly, highlights the importance of site design and modality upon how we perform identity, and how we act and interact. Continue reading

How realistic should media be? Doing dinosaurs right.

A tweet by the always awesome Mike Rugnetta in the wake of early Jurassic World reviews got me thinking; how realistic does media need to be?

Some critics and fans have been questioning the accuracy of the movie, but this leaves several important questions. What does it mean when the audience asks for a movie to be more ‘realistic’? How realistic can a movie about a Dinosaur Theme Park in the 21st Century be? Which reality are we even talking about?

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University of East Anglia doctoral conference 2015

If anyone is in Norwich next week, I will be taking part in a Doctoral Conference hosted by the University of East Anglia’s Education and Lifelong Learning department.

The full details of the conference are below the break. It will be held on the 28th of May, with two concurrent sessions running all day.  There are some great talks in both sessions, covering topics from humour, art, education in Libya, and geeks, to maths and chocolate, the analysis of Seljuk coins, and migrant workers in the Pearl River! Continue reading

Theorising Microsoft’s how-old.net Bot; is the internet now Mundane? What happens when things don’t work?

So I read a tweet from @NathanJurgenson earlier that got me thinking a lot about why it is that things that don’t work become popular, and what happens when things online stop working the way they are meant to. The tweet is below:

This immediately triggered a few thoughts for me; firstly, why is it that only things that don’t work become interesting, and secondly how do things become mundane online? The answer for this can be found by looking at Latour’s Actor-Network Theory. Continue reading

Call For Papers #CfP: Data Literacy – what is it and why does it matter? Web Sci 2015 #Websci2015

This sounds great, and I agree, there is a MUCH needed discussion to be had on data literacy. It’s often brushed aside, but like I was discussing earlier here, there is much to be said about access to data, and the implications of data literacy globally. Continue reading

Internet.org and tyranny of freedom

The mirage of free internet offered by Facebook’s Internet.org and Airtel Zero.

Internet.org and Airtel Zero are services that are allowing users in the Global South to have access to the internet in ways that have not previously been possible, but this access comes at a price, as Mahesh Murthy aptly discussed in his blog post shown below (fascinating original here).

What users of these seemingly altruistic ventures are presented with is a carefully selected group of sites; a representation of the internet that is by no means representative of the whole experience.

These projects reveal an interesting act of translation; a selective, consciously curated translation of ‘online reality’ into a new, confined, and restrictive format.

But of course, the old Italian adage “traduttore traditore” , which roughly translated (ironically…) into ‘to translate is to betray’ applies aptly here. We see a translation of online reality into a new medium that has purposefully and consciously chosen to present the online experience in a certain manner which, due to the selective and purposefully limited nature of the venture, ultimately serves as a betrayal of the original experience. Continue reading

Call for papers: Symposium on Trolling and Gender.

This sounds awesome. Hopefully I’ll be able to attend. There’s a lot of work to be done analysing and contextualising trolling.

I’m working on a paper looking at the rise of trolling in ‘anonymous’  apps such as Yik Yak. It’s been a long time since anonymity has been a key aspect of social interaction online, and it’s interesting to see the rise of trolling on these types of ‘anonymous’ sites. My own paper revolves around the implications of Yik Yak and other such sites for the ‘digital panopticon’, and how this leads to a rise in trolling. Who is being viewed? By whom? has the recently discussed synopticon (or even omniopticon!) become clouded? How are the users adjusting behaviours etc.

The call for papers is below. Hopefully I’ll see you there!

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