Are we researching society or technology? The ambiguous objects of digital sociology
With Noortje Marres (Goldsmiths, University of London)
This presentation engages with a particular problematic that digital sociology faces today: online platforms offer significant opportunities for the study of social life, but research relying on platform data easily ends up analysing not social life, but the platforms themselves. My talk outlines and evaluates two methodological strategies for addressing this problem of digital bias: a critical approach that seeks to strip its empirical object of digital artefacts, and an affirmative approach that endorses the hybridity of digital social phenomena. Drawing on a pilot study of privacy online, I showcase the type of insights and findings this second approach can provide.