How can studies of digital societies account not just for digital objects, but also signals and replications? Join us for a public talk with Dominique Boullier (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne).

Digital ANT: The Agency of Replications – Dominique Boullier (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne)

Digital platforms (from social networks to IoT) generate, analyze and sell more and more traces. The social sciences, under certain conditions, can finally benefit from a quasi-experimental field to study the processes of propagation, contagion and influence and to account in particular for the power to act of the entities that circulate, which I propose to think of as replications. This makes it possible to complement the powers of structures on the one hand and individual preferences on the other, which have been formalised by previous periods of social quantification. Actor Network Theory was born to contest the hegemony of these frameworks and to distribute agency to “non humans”. A digital ANT should not only focus on objects but on signals and memes that find their way through our minds and make us act, as Tarde proposed.

Bio: Dominique Boullier is professor of sociology at EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Digital Humanities Institute). He was the scientific coordinator of the medialab (Sciences Po Paris) from 2009 to 2015 together with Bruno Latour. He created and managed many labs (Lutin User Lab, Cité des Sciences, Paris, Costech in Compiègne) and a company in the 90s. His main research topics focus on digital sociology, replications and propagation, events and urban climates, technical architectures on Internet.

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 27th March 2019 15:30-17:00 GMT


Bush House, Lecture Theatre 1 BH(S)1.01 Strand Campus, King’s College London Strand London WC2R 2LS [button open_new_tab=”true” color=”accent-color” hover_text_color_override=”#fff” size=”medium” url=”https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/digital-ant-the-agency-of-replications-tickets-53902719485″ text=”Register” color_override=””] [/one_fourth_last]

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