"Where sociologists differ from many other social researchers in researching digital media is their awareness that digital data, like any other type of data, are socially created and have a social life, a vitality, of their own. They are not the neutral products of automatic calculation, but represent deliberate decisions by those who formulate the computer algorithms that collect and manipulate these data (boyd and Crawford 2012; Cheney-Lippold 2011; Ruppert et al. 2013). The data that these devices and software produce structure our concepts of identity, embodiment, relationships, our choices and preferences and even our access to services or spaces. Without the knowledge of digital technology users, algorithms measure and sort them, deciding what choices they may be offered (Beer 2009, 2013a). Algorithms and other elements of software, therefore, are generative, a productive form of power (Lash 2007)."
(Deborah Lupton, 2013, p.4)
Deborah Lupton 'Digital Sociology: Beyond the Digital to the Sociological', Paper presented at The Australian Sociological Association 2013 Conference, Monash University, 27 November 2013.
"Studenthood is a distinctive form of identity because educational programmes themselves are almost invariably associated with transition. The formal status of being a 'student' is relatively clear cut in higher education, where people are required to undergo prescribed procedures which clearly designate them as being students. The status of student is also a transitory status, after which most will expect to become something else–a graduate, who will enjoy graduate status in a credentialist labour market.
We can therefore see higher education not only as a transitional space, but as being 'liminal'. This idea derives from the work of the social anthropologist, Victor Turner (1987), on tribal peoples who are in the midst of a passage from one status role to another. There are obvious reasons why Turner's idea of liminality cannot be transferred unproblematically to the types of status transition that are experienced in a very different type of society. Nevertheless, we argue, it is possible to draw on and develop Turner's work in thinking of a critical theory of retention."
(John Field and Natalie Morgan–Klein, 2010)
Field J & Morgan–Klein N (2010) "Studenthood and identification: higher education as a liminal transitional space" In: , Leeds: Education–line / British Education Index. 40th Annual SCUTREA Conference, University of Warwick.
Symposium: Other Perspectives. Hafnarhus, weekend 13 – 14 August 2011.
"A new interdisciplinary field of design, researching the transformations of architectural, urban/regional space of the emerging 'information age', explores the dynamic interaction of architecture/urbanism and the space of mass media and communication networks. It develops scenarios for the interplay of public urban and public media space. The products of these alliances of urban/regional and media networks, of architectural and media space, are bastards: ambivalent spaces that are at the same time analog and digital, tactile and abstract, material and immaterial, expanding hyper–sensuality in the time– and placelessness of media flows. These hybrid spatial morphs act simultaneously in urban (local) and media (global) space and mediate between them, unfolding the undefined space between the local and the global, occupying the vacuum between local place and global space. Within the inversions of identity (communication), within the fluid ever–changing densities in the knitted networks, fused analogue/digital cultures are idensified."
"For many young people social networks such as Facebook are an essential part of their student experience. Other web–based, interactive services like Wikipedia and YouTube are also an important facet of everyday student life. New technologies have always been scrutinized for their capacity to support education and, as social technologies become more pervasive, universities are under increasing pressure to appropriate them for teaching and learning. However, the educational impact of applying these Web 2.0 technologies is uncertain.
Using a Foucauldian perspective, my qualitative study explores the networked experiences of disabled students to examine how dis/ability difference is ascribed and negotiated within social networks. Data comprises 34 internet–enabled interviews with 18 participants from three English universities. Interviews incorporate the internet to expand opportunities for discussion, observation and analysis. Mobile broadband, a remote desktop viewer and screen capture have been flexibly applied together to ensure an accessible interview situation and recognise students' preferences and circumstances. Data is analysed using discourse analysis, with an attention to context framed by activity theory.
Disabled students' networked experiences are found to be complex and diverse. For a proportion, the network shifts the boundaries of disability, creating non–disabled subjectivities. For these students, the network represents the opportunity to mobilise new ways of being, building social capital and mitigating impairment.
Other participants experience the network as punitive and disabling. Disability is socio–technically ascribed by the social networking site and the networked public. Each inducts norms that constitute disability as a visible, deviant and deficit identity. In the highly normative conditions of the network, where every action is open to scrutiny, impairment is subjected to an unequal gaze that produces disabled subjectivities. For some students with unseen impairments, a social experience of disability is inducted for the first time.
As a result, students deploy diverse strategies to retain control and resist deviant status. Self–surveillance, self–discipline and self–advocacy are evoked, each involving numerous social, cognitive and technological tactics for self–determination, including disconnection. I conclude that networks function both as Technologies of the Self and as Technologies of Power. For some disabled students, the network supports 'normal' status. For others, it must be resisted as a form of social domination.
Importantly, in each instance, the network propels students towards disciplinary techniques that mask diversity, rendering disability and the possibility of disability invisible. Consequently, disability is both produced and suppressed by the network."
(Sarah Lewthwaite, Slewth Press)