CISP Online

Blog of the Centre for Invention & Social Process, Goldsmiths

July 20, 2015
by Noortje Marres
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CSISP/Sociology Lecture by Lucy Suchman on Digital Practices: Some Methodological Reflections

On June 1, 2015, Professor Lucy Suchman delivered the CSISP/Sociology Annual Lecture at Goldsmiths entitled “Digital practices: some methodological reflections.” In this lecture, Suchman returns to her earlier ethnographic research on airline ground operations and the use of CAD software by structural engineers to develop an account of ‘digital practices.’ Connecting her earlier studies with current work on robotic warfare, the lecture outlines some of the important methodological issues these practices have raised and continue to raise in social research as well as in social life.… Continue reading

January 28, 2013
by Laurie Waller
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CSISP Salon with David Oswell: In an age of devices before devices, are we all post-representational?

 

David Oswell began this CSISP Salon with the assertion that devices like apps are everywhere. STS researchers use devices as most people use apps: as tools for navigating through the complexities of the social world. The novelty of STS approaches in social science are often premised on the claim that it’s possible to open up and look inside devices. Navigating in contemporary STS is thus often characterised as a process of following and tracing the inscriptions constituting a device; through practices of description STS works through the device out to the world. Moreover, as Savage and Burrows recently argued, the development of description as a mode of scholarly engagement is needed for a contemporary sociology to address the challenges posed by a “knowing capitalism” capable of appropriating the devices sociologists once thought to be their own.… Continue reading

January 21, 2013
by Noortje Marres
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What is Digital Sociology?

There have been some posts recently about Digital Sociology (here and here), and I would like to add a few comments, based on my experience developing the MA/MSc Digital Sociology at Goldsmiths together with others.

I might as well begin with my main point: I have one big fear about digital sociology, and that is that it will be seized upon as an opportunity to re-enact the drama of the ‘two cultures’ : I mean the debate in which humanistically inspired approaches are pitched against narrow scientistic ones – with sociologists thinking they must choose to be either ‘with them or against us.’ I don’t think this has happened yet, but it will not necessarily be easy to avoid over the coming years: digitization has been widely and very publically framed as an opportunity for a new push in ‘computational social science’, and this fact alone will make it tempting for some to cast digital sociology in the role of defender of sensitive, civilized, more tolerant forms of study, over against narrowly defined scientific empiricism.… Continue reading