"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.
"The Ulm School of Design was founded in 1953 by Inge Aicher–Scholl, Otl Aicher and Max Bill, with the main task of incorporate design into industry and to shape our material culture. In the post–war years, the process was marked by a crisis of values and resources, and this fact drove the Ulm School to re–think the meaning of creating forms in the contemporary world and to democratize the access to design. The exhibition explores the concept of 'system', related with a set of rationally components capable of generating an object, and also the systematic approach of the school, which included for the first time, the integration of science and art.
The importance of the Ulm School in the history of design comes from the strict methodology they imposed on project development. Focusing on an inter–disciplinary work and objective design analysis, it rejected design as an artistic activity and spread through industry to all walks of life. The school was recognized worldwide for its approach of focusing on the design of the system rather than the object."
(Ethel Baraona Pohl, 13 February 2012, Domus Magazine)
"Artist Guy Tarrant's display cabinets show artefacts gleaned from 150 different London primary and secondary schools over three decades. These objects include homemade games, keepsakes, cult toys, peculiar adornments, weapons and other forbidden objects which characterise the flotsam and jetsam of contemporary school children.
Since qualifying as a teacher, Guy Tarrant has investigated pupil interaction, play and resistant behaviour. The objects in the cabinets highlight mischievous and distracted behaviour played out in the controlled school setting where children spend much of their time. These confiscated items are evidence of the pupils' playful and impulsive activities and how they may reject or evade rules."
"This age–old conflict about social status remains at the heart of present–day struggles over the meanings of technology. On one side, defenders of technicians view technologies as creative expressions of human culture. In this view, technology is imbued with human values and strivings in all their contradictory complexity. I term this position the 'cultural' approach to technology. On the other side are those who see technological action as a narrow form of rationality that seeks only the best means for a given end. For such people, technology is something purely technical, essentially uncreative and devoid of values, subordinate to ends given by others. I call this second position the 'instrumental' conception of technology. ...
the discourse of technology favors the instrumental over the cultural. An entire tradition of philosophical critique is based on a reduction of technology to instrumental rationality. But technological enthusiasts also embrace the instrumental definition of technology. From their perspective, our modern technological civilization represents the embodiment of reason in the world, with new technologies as the vanguard of progress. Technological utopians like Kevin Kelly epitomize this instrumental perspective. In contrast, the cultural understanding of technology recognizes the creativity expressed in everything from steam engines to iPhones. But the cultural approach is definitely in the minority. This view is most common among people like me, historians of technology and other scholars who connect technological choices to specific aspects of culture and society."
(Eric Schatzberg, Rethinking Technology)
"The Mass Observation Project (MOP) is a unique UK–based writing project which has been running since 1981. ... [it] differs from other similar social investigations because of its historical link to the original Mass Observation and because of its focus is on voluntary, self–motivated participation. It revives the early Mass Observation notion that everyone can participate in creating their own history or social science. The Mass Observers do not constitute a statistically representative sample of the population but can be seen as reporters or 'citizen journalists' who provide a window on their worlds.
The material is solicited in response to 'directives' or open–ended questions sent to them by post or email three times a year. The directives contain two or three broad themes which cover both very personal issues and wider political and social issues and events.