Calendar of Events

Spring 2013

Friday, February 22, 2013
Ganaele Langlois (Social Science and the Humanities, University of Ontario Institute of Technology)
Software Studies: A Case for New Critical Methodologies
3:30 pm Curtin 175
Free, but please register with SOIS

What does it mean to undertake a critical analysis of current forms of software-mediated communication and, in particular, participatory communication as popularized by corporate software platforms such as Google and Facebook?

Digital methods have grown in popularity in recent years, with a plethora of tools to collect, analyze, visualize and superimpose user-produced data. The hope might be to reach a complex, yet manageable and understandable tapestry of the sum of human social behaviours, but the reality of such proliferation of tools and data is more confusing.

From how the data is collected to what it actually means, stands for, fabricates and obfuscates, current challenges in understanding participatory forms of communication point to the need to redefine a critical impetus. Critical methods have traditionally been employed to understand, identify and change relations of power that are inherent to a socio-technical system. In the current participatory environment, however, there is a real problem is critically analyzing the data that is provided by the system itself, and that favors and naturalizes specific patterns of social connection and participation that fit within the platform logic.

This presentation thus seeks to undersand how we can use participatory, networked objects, or sets of data, to understand the limits of current conceptions of participatory communication.

This talk is part of the Social Studies of Information Research Group (SSRIG) speaker series.

Digital Future Workshop: "Analyzing Social Media"
A research methods workshop on tools to analyze social media
Friday, February 22
12 noon Curtin 939
Free, but please register with SOIS

In the workshop, Professor Langlois will look at Infoscape Research Lab’s open tools, used to analyze blogs, YouTube, Twitter, and the web in general. The workshop will be especially relevant to faculty, staff, and students working in the social sciences.

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