In a week!

Virtual Knowledge is now available from MIT Press!

Getting ready for “Images and Visualisation: Imaging Technology, Truth and Trust”

ImageIn a couple of days, I’ll be heading off to Norrkoping, Sweden for a summer school on visualisation. My talk will address two conventions found across many imaging modalities area fields: the view form nowhere and the seamless zoom. The presentation will be posted here, once I’ve finished tweaking it today. Among others, my visual argument will take up the book Zoom by Istvan Banyai and the short film Powers of Ten. An interesting variation that predates the Eames and Eames production is Cosmic Zoom, (1968) of the NFB of Canada.

–>PRESENTATION is available here: text of talk and slides

The Neuroscientific Turn!

A wonderful collection edited by Melissa M. Littlefield and Jenell M. Johnson. My contribution is entitled Fast Moving Objects and their Consequences. More information about the collection can be found on the Michigan Press website.

Social Technology

Our special issue on ‘social technology’ has now appeared!  It is the issue of April 2012 (22(2)) of the Journal Theory and Psychology. Please contact the editors for more information: Anne Beaulieu, Maarten Derksen, and Signe Vikkelsø.

The introduction to the special issue is entitled ‘Social technologies: Cross-disciplinary reflections on technologies in and from the social sciences‘ Theory & Psychology April 2012 22: 139-147, doi:10.1177/0959354311427593.

EASST/4S Panel

If your are interested in submitting a paper for this panel, please do so via the conference website.

Mediated Practice: Insights from STS, Critical Theory and Media Theory

Panel organisers:

Anne Beaulieu (STS);  Annamaria Carusi (Critical Theory/STS); Aud Sissel Hoel (Visual and Media Studies); Sarah de Rijcke (STS)

Researchers in STS, media theory and critical theory share an interest in mediated practices. Furthermore, science and technology studies and humanities based studies of media and culture (including film, art, literature, music) have common concerns with regards to representations, meaning systems, social and institutional aspects of science, media and culture, and the politics and ethics of interventions in these domains.  Researchers often draw upon overlapping perspectives and theories—though these are often deployed in different ways by scholars of science, and scholars of media and culture.  The aim of this panel is to build on precedents (Thacker’s Biomedia, van Dijck’s ImagEnation, etc.) and to further explore these overlaps and divergences, and the ways in which concepts, ideas approaches and perspectives might travel more effectively across science and technological studies, media studies and cultural studies.

We invite papers that show how a concept developed in one field can be used in the other, either via analysis of examples, by adopting a hybrid approach, or by theoretical reflection.

Papers for the panel could addres

  • Relations between ideas of medium and technologies in STS and media/critical theory.
  • Analyses of visual, textual, and audio objects that use a combined approach from STS and media/critical theory.
  • Different ideas of agency (for example, in the context of authors and artists as well as social actors).
  • Different understandings of interpretation as an act, practice and process.
  • The relation between local and situated meanings on the one hand and general and abstract terms on the other, and issues of circulation of meaning in mediated settings.
  • Approaches to contextualised ethics and socio-political responsibility or intervention that draw on STS and media/critical theory.




“Learning in a landscape” sees the light!

Sometimes, by the time an article appears, the only affective reaction it evokes is something along the lines of ‘that old thing’… But this one has been in the making for so long, that it now feels like I’ve run into a long-lost friend!

So if you’re interested in simulations and visualisations, here is something to check out!

Going into the field, ethically…

Adolfo Estalella‘s recently completed PhD dissertation gave rise to a series of interactions that were ethically laden. Similarly, my recent fieldwork in a women’s studies group in a university in the Netherlands meant rethinking some of my assumptions about the proper way of going, being and leaving the field. Thinking through these issues together, we realised that some of the difficulties and our attempts at working through them could also be important for other scholars.  On the basis of these experiences and of our discussions about them, we wrote an article called Rethinking Research Ethics for Mediated Settings. It will be published in a special issue of Information, Communication and Society, edited by Annamaria Carusi.

We adress questions like: What does it mean to anonymise digital and networked data? Who has the power to do this? What are we really trying to achieve through anonymisation? And what kind of accountability can we formulate and enact when working in mediated settings?

In considering these questions, we also characterize mediated settings in terms of contiguity and traceability–two features that that challenge many of our traditional assumptions about what it means to go into the field, ethically.

What difference does a website make?

A website that presents the collection through gorgeous visuals is now considered a must for any self-respecting museum.  Photographs of objects, of exhibitions and of the museum itself are increasingly common interfaces, linking museums, visitors, experts, collections.

How are users engaged by these interfaces? Which skills and strategies are needed for this engagement? What are the consequences of visually mediated interfaces for users of digital knowledge in/about/from museums, archives, and other collections? These developments are discussed in terms of their consequences for how museums view their role, in a recent article written with Sarah de Rijcke, Image as Interface: consequences for users of museum knowledge. It appears in a special issue of the journal Library Trends on ‘Involving Users in the Co-Construction of Digital Knowledge in Libraries, Archives, and Museums.’

How we use mailing lists for fieldwork

A pleasant and productive collaboration with Mette Høybye led to the following chapter, which just appeared in the The Handbook of Emergent Technologies in Social Research, edited by Sharlene Hessse-Biber, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

We wrote about Studying Mailing Lists: text, temporality, interaction and materiality at the intersection of email and the web.

Social Technology

A new publication setting out the concept of social technology–and whybook cover we need it– has appeared in the Handbook of Philosophy of the Social Sciences. In this chapter entitled Social Technology, the concept is refined and illustrated through the analysis of three ‘cases’: priming, surveys and focus groups, and social software.

A draft of the chapter was discussed at the workshop Social Technology, co-organised with Signe Vikkelsø (Copenhagen Business School). A special issue from this workshop is forthcoming in the journal Theory and Psychology.