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24 MARCH 2014

The Digital Methods Initiative

Call for Participation – Digital Methods Summer School 2014, On Geolocation: Remote Event Analysis (Mapping Conflicts, Disasters, Elections and other Events with Online and Social Media Data), 23 June – 4 July 2014

"The Digital Methods Initiative is a contribution to doing research into the 'natively digital'. Consider, for example, the hyperlink, the thread and the tag. Each may 'remediate' older media forms (reference, telephone chain, book index), and genealogical histories remain useful (Bolter/Grusin, 1999; Elsaesser, 2005; Kittler, 1995). At the same time new media environments – and the software–makers – have implemented these concepts, algorithmically, in ways that may resist familiar thinking as well as methods (Manovich, 2005; Fuller, 2007). In other words, the effort is not simply to import well–known methods – be they from humanities, social science or computing. Rather, the focus is on how methods may change, however slightly or wholesale, owing to the technical specificities of new media.

The initiative is twofold. First, we wish to interrogate what scholars have called 'virtual methods,' ascertaining the extent to which the new methods can stake claim to taking into account the differences that new media make (Hine, 2005). Second, we desire to create a platform to display the tools and methods to perform research that, also, can take advantage of 'web epistemology'. The web may have distinctive ways of recommending information (Rogers, 2004; Sunstein, 2006). Which digital methods innovate with and also critically display the recommender culture that is at the heart of new media information environments?

Amsterdam–based new media scholars have been developing methods, techniques and tools since 1999, starting with the Net Locator and, later, the Issue Crawler, which focuses on hyperlink analysis (Govcom.org, 1999, 2001). Since then a set of allied tools and independent modules have been made to extend the research into the blogosphere, online newssphere, discussion lists and forums, folksonomies as well as search engine behavior. These tools include scripts to scrape web, blog, news, image and social bookmarking search engines, as well as simple analytical machines that output data sets as well as graphical visualizations.

The analyses may lead to device critiques – exercises in deconstructing the political and epistemological consequences of algorithms. They may lead to critical inquiries into debates about the value and reputation of information."

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TAGS

academic researchalgorithm • Almila Akdag Salah • Amsterdam • analytical machines • Anat Ben-David • Anne Helmond • Bernhard Rieder • blogosphereCarl Rogers • Carolin Gerlitz • Cass Sunsteinchart • chart data • Christine Hine • critical enquirydatadata analysisdata scraping • data sets • data visualisation • device critiques • digital methods • Digital Methods Initiative • Digital Methods Summer School • discussion forum • discussion lists • epistemological consequences • Erik Borra • Esther Weltevrede • folksonomiesFriedrich Kittler • Govcom.org • graphical visualisationshyperlink • hyperlink analysis • index • information environments • information validity • Issue Crawler • Jay David Bolter • Koen Martens • Lev Manovich • Liliana Bounegru • Lonneke van der Velden • Marc Tuters • Marieke van Dijk • Matthew Fuller • Michael Stevenson • Nadia Dresscher-Lambertus • Natalia Sanchez Querubin • natively digital • Net Locator • new medianew methods • older media forms • online newssphere • politicalrecommender culturereferenceremediationRichard Grusin • Richard Rogers • Sabine Niederer • scrapesearch engine • Simeona Petkova • social bookmarking • software-makers • summer schooltag • technical specificities • telephone network • Thomas Elsaesser • thread • virtual methods • web epistemology

CONTRIBUTOR

Linda Carroli
21 SEPTEMBER 2005

Singulars & Regions: Identity and Discourse

"Singulars are knowledge structures whose creators have appropriated a space to give themselves a unique name, a specialised discrete discourse with its own intellectual field of texts, practices, rules of entry, examinations, licenses to practice, distribution of rewards and punishments (physics, chemistry, history, economics, psychology, etc.). Singulars are, on the whole, narcissistic, orientated to their own development, protected by strong boundaries and hierarchies.

Regions are constructed by recontextualising singulars into larger units which operate both in the intellectual field of disciplines and in the field of external practice. Regions are the interface between disciplines (singulars) and the technologies they make possible. Thus engineering, medicine, architecture are regions. Contemporary regions would be cognitive science, management, business studies, communications and media. Regionalisation in higher education has proceeded at a rapid pace in the new universities, as any glance at their brochures will testify. Which disciplines enter a region depends upon the recontextualising principle and its social base. Thus the singulars entering medicine have expanded to include the sociology of medicine. Regionalisation as a discursive procedure threatens pedagogic cultures dominated by singulars and raises issues of legitimacy for such cultures, e.g. journalism, dance, sport, tourism, as university studies. However, changes in the reproduction of singulars from course base to modular form facilitate regionalisation. Regionalisation necessarily weakens both the autonomous discursive base and the political base of singulars and so facilitates changes in organisational structures of institutions towards greater central administrative control. The regions have, perhaps, autonomy over their contents in order to be more responsive to, more dependent upon, the market their output is serving. Increasing regionalisation of knowledge is then a good indicator of its technologising, of centralising of administrative control and of pedagogic contents recontextualised according to external regulation. Increasing regionalisation necessarily is a weakening of the strength of the classification of discourses and their entailed narcissistic identities and so a change of orientation of identity towards greater external dependency: a change from introjected to projected identities."
(Basil Bernstein 2000, p.52)

Bernstein, Basil. (2000). Pedagogy Symbolic Control and Identity Theory Research Critique. Oxford, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

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22 APRIL 2005

Heartfield: Political Commentary Through Photomontage

"Exposing Nazism, and its leaders, to ridicule was [John] Heartfield's main aim in the 30s. 'The Meaning of the Hitler Salute' shows Hitler's right hand accepting a wad of bank notes from a gigantic bourgeois standing behind him. ''Little man requests big donation. Motto: Millions are behind me.

Heartfield was an early pioneer of photomontage. He used it as a political weapon to challenge fascism prior to the 2nd World War. For Heartfield ''New political problems demand[ed] new means of propaganda. For this task photography [possessed] the greatest power of persuasion."

(The Leninist, 1992)

Fig.1 John Heartfield (1932). Der Sinn des Hitlergrusses: Kleiner Mann bittet um große Gaben. Motto: Millonen Stehen Hinter Mir! [The Meaning of the Hitler Salute: Little man asks for big gifts. Motto: Millions Stand Behind Me!], 1932 [http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works–of–art/1987.1125.8]

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TAGS

1932 • activismAdolf Hitleranglophobia • character portrait • fotomontageGermanguerrilla tacticsHelmut HerzfeldJohn HeartfieldNaziparodypersuasionphotographyphotomontagepolitical • political poster • propagandaridiculetacticThird Reichundermineupstaging
03 JANUARY 2004

Utopian Society: Order

"Plato's formulation of the ideal social and political organization is his understanding that the polis, a city–state, should be governed by philosopher–kings, should function under the domination of an order imposed by reason. Like the orderly body, the city–state functions most ably under the rule of reason, the regime of wisdom, for the well–ordered polzs, like the well–ordered body, operates most harmoniously only in accordance with the dictates of pure reason and the contemplation of the eternal."

(Elizabeth Grosz, p.132. Architecture From The Outside)

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