"Data and the Future of Critical Social Research" (ICA 2017 Pre-Conference)

May 25, 2017, San Diego, California, USA

Sponsored by the Philosophy, Theory and Critique Division of the International Communication Association

Location: Hilton San Diego Bayfront

Organisers: Nick Couldry (London School of Economics) and Andreas Hepp (University of Bremen)

What we call media and mediated communication is more and more interwoven with processes of datafication in an environment of continuous and largely automated data-gathering, for example, from our activities online or our mobile phone use. The uses of data collected, aggregated and analysed by systems of computers are today a precondition for everyday life. In short, data are changing social ontology, and as a result the role of ‘media’ within the constitution of the social. This can be understood as  part of a process of ‘deep’ mediatization (Couldry and Hepp 2016) – in which the very elements and building-blocks from which social is constructed are based in processes of mediation, accompanied by automated data processing.
In this transformed context, this pre-conference asks: What do such changes mean for critical communications and social research – indeed for critical social theory and informed political action generally? How should we now do critical empirical research into media and communications bearing this deep mediatization in mind? The pre-conference aims both to focus these questions theoretically and to encourage perspectives on what constitutes critical empirical research under such conditions.

Registration:

Registration for the conference is now open. Please register via the conference website http://www.icahdq.org/event/Data_andthe_Future by May 25, 2017. The registration fee is $50 (lunch and coffee breaks included).

Programme:

8:30-8:45
Opening

Nick Couldry & Andreas Hepp (LSE, UK; University of Bremen, Germany): Deep mediatization and the challenges of data for critical social research


8:45-10:30
PANEL: Civics: Resisting datafication?

Stefania Milan (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands): Redefining citizenship. For a socio-technical theory of agency in datafied societies

Burcu Baykurt (Columbia University, USA):

Rethinking Civicness in the Data-Driven City: Solutions in Search of Problems

Sarah Myers West (University of Southern California, USA): Disconnecting from the Net: Encryption as a Counterforce Against Surveillance Capitalism

Jan Lauren Boyles (Iowa State University, USA): From Storytelling to Social Action: How Civic Data Is Reshaping Community Relationships

Andrew R. Schrock (Chapman University, USA): Reforming from the Inside? Government Innovation Teams and Data-Driven Reform 


10:30-10:45
Coffee & tea break


10:45-12:30
PANEL: Social facts: Changing environments for economic and political life?

Göran Bolin (Södertörn University, Sweden): The metric mindset: Deep datafication of the social

Stephanie Geise, Maria Hänelt, Florian Buhl (University of Münster, Germany): Extracting the Nature of Mediatized Social Worlds: Strategies to Identify and Discriminate Sequels of Algorithmized Media in Critical Empirical Media Research

Felicitas Macgilchrist (University of Göttingen, Germany): Datafication and educational technology: On shaping social orders through “the world’s most data-minable industry by far”

Caja Thimm & Thomas Bächle (University of Bonn, Germany): Social bots, autonomous machines and deep mediatization:  the concept of ‘autonomy’ as a challenge for media theory


12:30-13:00
Lunch break 


13:00-14:45
PANEL: Cultures: Meanings and contradictions?

Martin Hand (Queen’s University, Canada): Data, Time, Self: encounters and expectations about temporal ordering

Anne Kaun (Södertörn University, Sweden): Out of Synch: The Temporalities of Datafied Societies

Annemarie Navar-Gill & Sriram Mohan (University of Michigan, USA): The Datafied Imagination: Deep Mediatization in Cultural Production

Robert Prey (University of Groningen, Netherlands): The Quantified Artist: Cultural Production after Datafication

Paulo Martins (Instituto Superior das Ciências do Trabalho e da Empresa, ISCTE-IUL, Lisboa, Portugal): Powerless Oblivious People (POP): the numbness of permanent adjustment through continuous ‘inner conversations’


14:45-15:00
Coffee & tea break


15:00-16:30
PANEL: Politics: Governing and dissent? 

Jiayin Lu and Yupei Zhao (Sun Yat-Sen University, China): Structural Threats: The Impact of Internet Censorship on Youth Political Expression and Protest

Mirca Madianou (Goldsmiths University of London, UK): How Beneficiaries Pay the Donors: the datafication of humanitarianism

Emiliano Treré (Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, Scuola Normale, Superiore, Florence, Italy): Algorithmic ambivalences: the reconfiguration of dissent in datafied environments

Christian Pentzold (University of Bremen, Germany) & Ulrike Klinger (University of Zurich, Switzerland): Reading the powerful rhetoric of ‘big data’ in political discourse


16:30-17:00
Final Discussion: What are the future perspectives for critical social research on data?