How can digital data from online devices and platforms be used to do social and cultural research? What problem are we facing, when using digital media itself to understand how those technical innovations are situated in society? Join us for a departmental seminar with Noortje Marres (University of Warwick).

Why social research must become inventive in a digital age

Digital data and data tools enable new ways of reconciling foundational oppositions in social research, including those between content and context, abstraction and experience, trend and situation. This argument tends to involve the claim that automat-able data analysis now makes possible the empirical specification of contexts in ways that were previously understood to require ethnographic presence “in the field.”

In this seminar, Noortje Marres will discuss her on-going study of a digitally native phenomenon – user-led technology testing on Youtube, and look at the methodological difficulties of digital media to find that they are haunted by a blind spot. She will show that this blind spot has important consequences for the methodological approach of socio-technical situations, and how to become inventive to solve it.

Bio: Noortje Marres (@NoortjeMarres) is Associate Professor in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies at the University of Warwick, and a Visiting Professor in the Centre for Science & Technology Studies at the University of Leiden. She has published two monographs, Material Participation (Palgrave, 2015) and Digital Sociology (Polity, 2017). More info at www.noortjemarres.net.

This event is part of an ongoing seminar series on “critical inquiry with and about the digital” hosted by the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London. If you tweet about the event you can use the #kingsdhhashtag or mention @kingsdh. If you’d like to get notifications of future events you can sign up to this mailing list.



Date and time

Wed 28 November, 2018



Old Anatomy Lecture Theatre (K6.29)
Strand Campus
King’s College London


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