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Message posted on 03/02/2023

CfP Nordic STS 2023 Futures of digital ethnographic methods

                Dear all,

If you are interested in and/or are working with digital ethnographic methods,
please consider joining us in Oslo for our panel at the  2023 Nordic STS
conference between 7-9th June to discuss its post-pandemic futures. Looking
forward to your abstracts of 250 words by March 1.

All best,

Julie for the organising team

Disrupted fieldwork and digital research encounters: Futures of digital
ethnographic methods and interdisciplinary collaboration amidst global

This panel focuses on digital ethnographic fieldwork and whether methods and
collaborations in/of 'the digital' are the future 'new normal'. During the
COVID-19 pandemic, universities were among the first institutions to go into
lockdown, moving academic work off-campus and limiting access to nondigital
field sites. Simultaneously, digital solutions became integrated into work
practices and personal lives, moving field sites online at least partially or
temporarily. This required ad hoc readjustments to suit the new social,
material, and technological needs of remote research as much as the spatial
configurations of ethnographic methods. Long-term effects included the
(temporary) rise of digital methods in STS ethnography and its modes of
interdisciplinary collaborations.

Although many scholars already worked with digital methods or conducted
digital fieldwork before 2020, the pandemic required many more researchers to
adjust to the ‘new normal’ of digital and online research practices, even
if they were not specifically interested in ‘the digital’ previously. As
such, they added to existing research practices. As a result, novel
collaborations and ways of ‘working digitally’ are emerging in the wake of
the crisis. A widely shared collaborative online document for ‘doing
fieldwork in a pandemic’ (Lupton, 2021) highlighted the potential of digital
research methods, drawing on a range of fields such as critical data studies,
media studies, platform studies, or digital sociology.

Qualitative research traditions have much to offer, grappling with messy and
complex datasets and intertwined technical and social effects, suggesting that
reflexive ‘digital fieldwork’ (Lindgren 2019, Venturini & Rogers 2019)
could be a valuable approach to dealing with digital field sites. STS
researchers have contributed to such discussions. For example, Moats (2019)
explores the tensions of ‘following the medium’ and following
controversies, whereas Ribes (2019) comments on the challenges and
opportunities that can be found in the intersection of STS and data science.
Marres’ (2020) ‘situational analytics’ brings interpretative methodology
into computational settings, whilst Vertesi and Ribes (2019) collect an array
of examples of digital STS scholarship in their book. Wyatt (2022), an
advocate for ‘digital humanism’, argues the need for different modes of
collaboration across disciplines, where developing shared methods in the
digital sphere might enact interdisciplinarity in fruitful ways.

This panel invites papers concerned with the practicalities of conducting
different kinds of digital fieldwork in the post-pandemic ‘new normal’. We
are particularly interested in research exploring a) the concrete doings of
digital ethnography and methodographic reflections on the performativity of
our research methods, collaborations, and digital devices (Greiffenhagen et
al., 2011; Lippert and Mewes, 2021), and/or b) reflections of the potential
future implications for STS methods during global geopolitical, ecological,
and health-related challenges. We ask panel contributions to critically
reflect upon potential exclusions and limits, frictions as well as delights of
digital fieldwork, its methods and methodologies, and the academic
infrastructures they are embedded into. The panel creates a collaborative
space for STS researchers interested in ‘the digital’ as an empirical,
theoretical or methodical concern, field site and/or field device to gather
the learnings of pandemic digital fieldwork, paying specific attention to
discussions on the present and futures of digital STS.

Panel organizers: Julie Mewes, Ruhr University Bochum; Frauke Rohden,
University of Oslo; and Sylvia Irene Lysgård, Oslo Metropolitan University

Submission deadline: 1 March 2023

Submission form:

Dr. Julie Sascia Mewes

Co-chair and board member of stsing, Science and Technology Studies in and
through Germany e.V.

Affiliated Researcher of the Ruhr University Science and Technology Studies

Pronouns: she/her

Find my latest publications and projects here:
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