Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Digital Sociology at the British Sociology Association Conference 2014

By Emma Head 

As co-convenor of the BSA Digital Sociology study group, I've helped to organise a special session on digital methods and their implications for sociology.  More details of our inaugural conference session can are outlined below, do join us if you are at the BSA conference this year: 

'The Social Life of  (Digital) Methods: roundtable discussion', Conference Auditorium 2, Friday 25th, 5-6pm
This roundtable discussion explores digital methods and their implications for sociological research.  The following speakers will be taking part:  Susan Halford (University of Southampton), Deborah Lupton (University of Canberra), Noortje Marres (Goldsmiths, University of London), Mike Savage, (London School of Economics and Political Science).

All the speakers have made significant contributions to the work on the social life of methods, and to the developing field of digital sociology. Furthermore, the topics under discussion have wider purchase for sociology as a whole at a time of disciplinary uncertainty in a context of rapid social change.  The roundtable will cover a diverse range of topics under the broad theme of the ‘social life of methods’ including the ‘crisis of empirical sociology’, the significance of ‘big data’, the history of sociological methods, the digital turn in social life and the problems and prospects for a critical social science under contemporary circumstances. This session will not only address the conference theme of ‘changing society’ but will do so in a way which explores how the repertoires of social research are both shaping and being shaped by these broader changes within social life.

The session will be chaired by Evelyn Ruppert (Goldsmiths, University of London)

The following sessions might also be of interest: 

'An Invitation to Digital Public Sociology', Roger Stevens Lecture Theatre 1, Thursday 24th April, 11-12.30pm
This session asks what ‘public sociology’ entails in a world of facebook, twitter, youtube, slideshare, soundcloud, pinterest and wordpress. What affordances and constraints do these tools entail for the task described by Michael Burawoy of ‘taking knowledge back to those from whom it came, making public issues out of private troubles, and thus regenerating sociology’s moral fibre’? What implications do these tools have for the relationship between the public and private in the occupational biographies of individual sociologists and, through aggregation and collective organisation, the discipline as a whole? In addressing such questions it seeks to draw out the continuities between the emerging field of digital sociology and the longer-standing concerns of public sociology. In doing so it addresses the claim made by John Holmwood at the previous year’s conference that the task of sociology in an age of austerity is to ‘occupy debate and make inequality matter’ and argues that the digitalisation of social life entails profound challenges and opportunities for sociological inquiry.
Speakers: Jesse Daniels (City University of New York), Deborah Lupton (Canberra University), Sue Scott (University of York and University of Edinburgh)

There is a  session on the 'Quantified self and self-tracking: data, self and health', more details can be found here.

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