Sessions in: Digitalisation
B.1 (Responsible) Standardisation for (the Digital) Society
Organizers: Kai Jakobs1, Andrea Fried2, Olia Kanevskaia3, Ivana Mijatovic4, Ray Walshe5, Paul-Moritz Wiegmann6
1: RWTH Aachen University, Germany; 2: Linköping University, Sweden; 3: Utrecht University, The Netherlands; 4: University of Belgrade, Serbia; 5: Dublin City University, Ireland; 6: TU Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Today, standards for the digital domain are developed mostly by engineers and computer scientists, typically employed by large companies. As a result, technical expertise and economic interests guide standardisation and thus technical development; societal issues are hardly considered (if at all). This is an untenable situation, especially considering the trend towards smart systems, AI and Machine Learning. These technologies have the potential to change society – for better or worse.
“The shaping process [of a technology] begins with the earliest stages of research and development”. Standardisation represents such an early stage. This suggests to exploit the standards setting process to also contribute broader, non-technical (e.g. societal, environmental, legal and ethical) expertise to the standardisation of particularly the above technologies. This, in turn, requires active contributions from an additional broad range of stakeholders including citizens, NGOs, unions, (local) administrations as well as e.g. lawyers, sociologists and philosophers.
This session solicits contributions that discuss aspects of such a ‘Responsible Standardisation’ from both a practical and a theoretical perspective. Potential topics include but are not limited to:
- Possible contributions of societal stakeholders to standards development.
- The role and representation of societal stakeholders in standardisation.
- How to increase participation of societal stakeholders in standards setting?
- Legitimacy and influence of different players in standards development.
- Potential ethical and legal issues in the standardisation of smart systems, AI and Machine Learning.
- Social norms and their impact on standardisation.
B.2 Digital twins, cousins and other kins: What can we learn from contemporary models, simulators and test beds?
Organizers: Ola Michalec, Andrés Domínguez, Peter Winter
University of Bristol, United Kingdom
Investigating experimental practices in science and engineering has been a core focus of STS. Empirical studies and conceptualisations of testing (Pinch, 1993; Marres and Stark, 2020, Latour 1987), accuracy (Mackenzie, 1993), and modelling (Ahrweiler and Wormann, 1998; Sundberg, 2006) are canonical to the field. From highlighting the performativity of code running economic or medical modelling (Mackenzie and Vurdubakis, 2011) to problematising test beds as instrumentalised for market gains (Laurent et al, 2021), STS has been committed to questioning the assumptions behind scientific modelling, data used as inputs, and their social, political, ethical as well as material intertwinements.
With the advancements in digital connectivity, AI and sensor technologies, there has been a proliferation of new data-intensive forms of modelling, simulating and forecasting. Digital twins, digital shadows, test beds and simulators have been growing in popularity as proposed solutions to optimise maintenance, test the performance of materials, and assess engineering requirements ‘on demand’ (Mihai et al., 2022). These developments are rooted in the empiricist assumptions about the power of digital data to accurately represent and predict the performance of complex socio-technical systems. Because of this, digital representations are expected to be accurate enough to affect their physical counterparts. While data-driven forms of digital modelling and testing are established in domains such as aerospace, construction and industrial processes (e.g., drug development), these practices are now permeating other domains which aim to predict and alter complex socio-technical assemblages and ecological processes (some examples are Earth observation or the human body1). These emerging practices call for renewed attention from the STS community. How do expansive processes of digital modelling, testing and prediction shape matters of public concern such as climate change and access to healthcare? What are these modern digital facilities really capable of? What are their potential benefits and shortcomings?
This session invites diverse empirical, conceptual and speculative contributions on the epistemic, methodological, social, and political aspects of modern computing facilities. These may include but not limited to simulators, virtual entities, test beds and digital twins. We aim to address questions like (but not excluded to):
- What is the role of expertise in mobilisation of those facilities?
- What futures are crafted, envisioned and negotiated through these emerging practices and artifacts?
- How do stakeholders conceptualise and deal with the complexity of the real world?
- What are the social implications of the knowledge claims they make?
- What are the methodological challenges of accessing and studying these emerging sites of digitalisation?
Accepted papers will be invited to submit to a special issue of a peer-reviewed STS journal.
B.3 Digital Platforms in Society and Industry
Organizers: Ulrich Dolata1, Jan-Felix Schrape2
1: University of Stuttgart, Germany; 2: University of Stuttgart, Germany
To date, social science debates on digital platforms have focused primarily on the now well-known social media, market and service platforms on the internet. However, comparatively little research has been done on platform-centered organizational forms in manufacturing and the role they play in the digital transformation of the industry. While the structuration of platforms in the consumption- and communication-oriented internet can be described as a hybrid constellation of platform-operating companies as organizing cores and the platforms belonging to them as rule-based and strongly technically mediated social action spaces, production and innovation platforms in industry seem to be more heterogeneous and ambiguous in their basic structure.
Against this backdrop, this session aims to explore the various forms and architectures of digital platforms in society and industry and to discuss the depth and scope of the respective transformation triggered by their emergence and socio-economic adoption.
First, this leads to questions about the types, organizational structures and historical precursors of digital platforms. How can the variety of platforms in society and industry be systematized, narrowed down and compared? What distinguishes them from other organizational forms, such as production and innovation networks, media outlets or wholesaling (e.g., in the pharmaceutical industry)? How are digital platforms integrated into the organizational structures of existing companies, and what role do they play there?
Second, this raises questions about the relationship between the platform operators and the (individual or corporate) participants and, in particular, the tensions between openness and closure or inclusion and exclusion on platforms in the various socio-economic spheres. For example, how open or closed industrial platforms are compared to social media or market platforms on the web, considering that platform participants in industry have a completely different need for security with regard to their proprietary knowledge and data than individual users of consumption-oriented internet platforms?
Third, the session addresses questions about the actor configurations and power imbalances in industrial platform contexts compared with those that characterize commercially operated internet platforms. What (economic, regulatory, controlling) power potentials do the respective platform operators have? What roles play established actors (e.g., large-scale industrial or media enterprises), start-ups or tech companies that migrate into traditional economic fields as new entrants? How can their competitive and cooperative relationships be described?
In order to discuss these and related questions in this session, we are calling for empirically oriented submissions, single case or comparative studies as well as conceptual or theoretical contributions that present current research on the socio-economic foundations of digital platforms in industry and/or in the realm of the consumption- and communication-oriented internet. This includes presentations that discuss open questions and specific research gaps in social science research on digital platforms.
B.4 Understanding the Metaverse: theoretical, empirical and critical challenges for a new(?) internet age
Organizers: Chris Hesselbein, Paolo Bory, Stefano Canali
Politecnico di Milano, Italy
The ‘metaverse’ is currently being posited as the ‘the next chapter for the internet’ (Zuckerberg 2021), as can be witnessed from the rapid adoption of the term by technology consultants and industry professionals. After previous buzzwords (e.g., ‘cyberspace’, ‘Web 2.0’) that sought to capture socio-cultural imaginations and mobilize financial resources, the term ‘metaverse’ is now being deployed to steer the future of the Internet and the production of digital technologies and infrastructures towards the creation of an immersive world. Older multimedia platforms (e.g., Second Life) and current gaming platforms (e.g., Roblox) are used as illustrations that the metaverse is already here, while simultaneously statements abound that the metaverse will arrive soon or that it will never become a reality. What is clear, however, is that venture capitalists and big tech companies are committing their technological, economic and political power to making the metaverse a reality, as seen from Facebook’s recent rebranding to Meta and Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, as well as their development of headsets with which ‘users’ will enter the metaverse and purportedly spend ever more of their professional, social, and leisure time.
Unsurprisingly, scholars have met this wave of enthusiasm, hype, and wild speculation with a considerable degree of wariness and scepticism. Techno-optimistic imaginaries of virtual worlds and their purported blurring of ‘offline’/‘online’ spaces and practices have, after all, rarely lived up to their promise of revolutionizing access to information, decentralizing power, ‘democratizing’ society, and freeing us from the limitations of embodiment and social identity.
This panel seeks to provide a starting point for scholarly approaches to studying, conceptualizing, and critiquing the metaverse. We encourage (but are not limited to) submissions that focus on the following topics:
- What new technoscientific imaginaries, narratives, and futures are being envisioned as well as embedded in the metaverse? How are older technoscientific imaginaries and myths (e.g., cyberspace, cyberlibertarianism, and disembodiment) being reproduced, revised or subverted through media/promotional discourses as well as in currently emergent metaverses?
- How are the structural, political, and material conditions of the metaverse informed by the convergence of digital infrastructures (e.g., 5G, IoT), large (platform) corporations (e.g., Meta, Microsoft, Epic, Intel), digital devices (e.g.,VR/AR headsets), and their respective uses, interests, and goals?
- How are centralized, commercialized, platform-driven models of the metaverse in tension with other techno-hypes, such as cryptocurrencies, blockchains, Web3, NFTs, that are purportedly challenging old barriers to access, power, and ownership? How do these tensions play out on the level of technological standardization, interoperability, and protocols?
- What are the various methodological opportunities, challenges, and constraints for conducting qualitative/quantitative research and studying technoscientific practices of/in the Metaverse? What new research methods, types of data, and research protocols will be necessary, and what role can the digital humanities and other fields such as critical data studies and cultural analytics play?
- How do discourses of disembodiment prevalent within technology companies contrast with the persistence of physical embodiment? How might the metaverse inform new sensoria, subjectivities, and embodiments as well as the performance of social identities and interactions?
B.5 Studying paratexts in practice – How to research algorithms in datafied societies
Organizers: Roger von Laufenberg1, Vera Gallistl2
1: Vienna Centre for Societal Security; 2: Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences, Division of Gerontology and Health Research
Recent years have seen a steady increase in critical research about algorithms and related topics such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning. While algorithms are certainly no new phenomenon, it is their ubiquitous nature in all kinds of digital technologies that has raised interest on their functioning in a broad range of applications such as search engines (Mager 2017)1, finance (MacKenzie 2019)2, security (Ulbricht 2018)3, care (Rubeis 2020)4 and has also situated them as modern myths, that are depicted as equally powerful and vulnerable (Ziewitz, 2016)5. Many of these studies have shown how these apparent neutral technologies require a multitude of practical actions and instances of doing that shape the functioning, politics and ideologies with which these algorithms operate and thus can impact users and society at large. As Kitchin (2016)6 concluded already a couple of years ago, there is a dire need to critically study algorithms, and its related myths, in practice.
Yet, upon approaching algorithms as research topic in practice, there are many questions that emerge from a methodological point of view, first and foremost: How to research an algorithm? Barocas et al. (2013)7 have raised the question of who has expertise to study algorithms and what lens produces what kind of output when ‘looking at algorithms’ while Kitchin (2016) has listed practical approaches for researching algorithms, including coding and reverse engineering, interviews with designers and observations of algorithms in real world settings. These engagements with methodological questions in algorithm and AI research highlight the need to think about how different methods can be applied to the topic, how they can be combined, and how research might contribute to or disrupt some of the myths related to AI and algorithms.
In this panel, we want to address these issues and discuss different possibilities and methods for researching algorithms (in its broadest sense) and their combination in mixed- and multi-method research. By doing this, we also want to discuss wider issues that we as researchers have encountered in our own attempts studying algorithms, ML and co., asking questions such as (but not limited to):
- What are the methodological implications of researching algorithms?
- How has the epistemic authority to research algorithms?
- Do we as social scientific researchers bestow algorithms with (too much) agency and power, by focusing our research (solely) on their functioning and politics?
- What temptations do we risk of falling prey to, by researching algorithms?
- Are we as researchers also contributing to the “paratexts of the AI movement” (Jansen (2022))8, meaning “the programmatic descriptions, manifestos, and interviews that AI scientists used to explain what they thought they were doing when they did their research” – and hence contributing to (sometimes misleading) myths about what algorithms & AI can and cannot do?
Research papers, essays and other forms of contributions, such as group discussions or fishbowl conversations aiming at discussing these methodological and theoretical questions on researching algorithms are welcome to submit their proposals or abstracts.
B.6 Knowing in Algorithmic Regimes: Methods, Interactions, Politics
Organizers: Bianca Prietl1, Juliane Jarke2, Simon Egbert3
1: JKU Linz, Austria; 2: KFU Graz, Austria; 3: Universität Bielefeld, Germany
Algorithms have risen to become one, if not the central technology for producing, circulating, and evaluating knowledge in multiple societal arenas. In this session, we want to discuss the implications that this development has for the epistemological, methodological, and political foundations of knowledge production, sensemaking, and decision-making. In order to so, we propose the concept of algorithmic regimes. It draws our attention to the transformations in the socio-material “apparatuses” (Barad 2007), cultures, and practices that configure and regulate how (valid) knowledge is produced and by which means truth claims can be made. Thus, the concept of algorithmic regimes does not so much refer to technology-induced changes of science and scientific knowledge production, but to a wider and more fundamental shift in society’s “regime[s] of truth” (Foucault 1976; Deleuze 1992), characterized by an “epistemic colonization” (see Gillespie 2014; also Kitchin 2014; Beer 2018) of computationally driven techniques and modes of knowledge production.
This development has fuelled – and been fuelled by – utopian visions of open and transparent societies and science that lend strength to democratic processes and grassroots movements. At the same time, knowledge production and truth claims within algorithmic regimes have also proven to be “violent” (McQuillan 2022) or “harmful” (Noble 2018; Eubanks 2018), with scholars and activists pointing to algorithmic discrimination or threats of surveillance and control.
To grasp the complexity of this shift, it is necessary to look beyond the technical nature of algorithms to acknowledge the wider social, political, cultural, economic, and material entanglements of algorithmic systems as they apply to the generation, accumulation, storage, and connection of (big) data (e.g. Seaver 2017, 2019). We argue that at least three interconnected aspects are crucial to understanding algorithmic regimes: (1) the methods of researching and designing algorithmic systems; (2) (social) interactions and how algorithmic systems reconfigure them; and (3) the politics engrained in algorithmic regimes.
By exploring these aspects, we aim to address the following pressing questions:
- How do different social actors come to know about and make sense of the world through the deployment of algorithms and algorithmic systems of knowledge production?
- Which kinds of knowledge do we value and which knowledge regimes do we look to in the face of multiple collective uncertainties and challenges?
- What kind of society do we want to live in? Which sociotechnical futures do we desire? And, how can we imagine futures of social justice, social cohesion, and caring communities in (opposition to) algorithmic regimes?
In order to discuss these – and further – questions on knowing in algorithmic regimes, we propose to organize a round table. The round table will feature contributions from our forthcoming edited volume “Algorithmic Regimes” (to be published open access with Amsterdam University Press in 2023). Each participant will give a short summary and provocation about their chapter. This will be followed by a moderated panel discussion to explore themes and questions across the different chapters and sections, ultimately shedding light on the complex as well as profound role of algorithmic regimes in contemporary society.
B.7 Data journalism in a datafied society
Organizers: Sonja Radkohl, Robert Gutounig
FH JOANNEUM, Austria
Data journalism is seen as journalism’s response to an increasingly data-dependent society (Ausserhofer et al., 2017). Especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a growing use of data journalism explaining complex matters to the public (Gutounig et al., 2022; Quandt & Wahl-Jorgensen, 2021). To make data (visualizations) understandable, it is essential for data journalists to successfully analyze, interpret, and comprehend complex data (visualizations). A wide range of methods emerges, such as visual analytics, an approach in which data is visually analyzed to identify themes. These methods require a certain degree of visualization and data literacy for the producer and the recipient (Börner et al., 2019; Pedersen & Caviglia, 2019).
Addressing this challenge, oftentimes interdisciplinary teams with experts on stories, analysis, programming, and visualization collaborate on a data story (Loosen et al., 2017). This development affects journalistic practice, the qualification requirements for journalists and thus training and education (Heravi & Lorenz, 2020).
This session focuses on the needs, challenges and best practices in data journalism, addresses current questions of the domain and facilitates discussions.
Questions might include, but are not limited to:
- societal challenges: How can complex data sets be presented to be understandable for the public? What consequences does this display of information have regarding the acceptance of evidence-based decisions?
- technical challenges: What kinds of challenges do data journalists face when it comes to (visual) data analysis and visualizations?
- data journalism training: How do data journalists learn? What kind of onboarding concepts can be developed to foster the use of data?
- interdisciplinarity: What needs and challenges emerge, if experts with different backgrounds collaborate?
- data journalistic workflow: What challenges arise i.e. concerning the more time-consuming data journalistic workflow in a typical newsroom?
Ausserhofer, J., Gutounig, R., Oppermann, M., Matiasek, S., & Goldgruber, E. (2017). The datafication of data journalism scholarship: Focal points, methods, and research propositions for the investigation of data-intensive newswork. Journalism. https://doi.org/10.1177/1464884917700667
Börner, K., Bueckle, A., & Ginda, M. (2019). Data visualization literacy: Definitions, conceptual frameworks, exercises, and assessments. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(6), 1857–1864. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1807180116
Gutounig, R., Radkohl, S., Goldgruber, E., & Stoiber, C. (2022). Datenjournalismus: Die Transformation journalistischer Arbeitsabläufe und Produkte durch Visualisierung und Analyse von Daten. In N. Alm, P. C. Murschetz, F. Weder, & M. Friedrichsen (Hrsg.), Die digitale Transformation der Medien: Leitmedien im Wandel (S. 325–345). Springer Fachmedien. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-36276-8_15
Heravi, B.R. & Lorenz, M. (2020). Data Journalism Practices Globally: Skills, Education, Opportunities, and Values. Journalism and Media, 1(1), 26-40. https://doi.org/10.3390/journalmedia1010003
Loosen, W., Reimer, J., & De Silva-Schmidt, F. (2017). Data-driven reporting: An on-going (r)evolution? An analysis of projects nominated for the Data Journalism Awards 2013–2016. Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism, 146488491773569. https://doi.org/10.1177/1464884917735691
Pedersen, A. Y., & Caviglia, F. (2019). Data literacy as a compound competence. In T. Antipova & A. Rocha (Hrsg.), Digital science (Bd. 8 50, S. 166–173). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-02351-5_21
Quandt, T. & Wahl-Jorgensen, K. (2021). The Coronavirus Pandemic as a Critical Moment for Digital Journalism. Digital Journalism, 9(9), 1199-1207. https://doi.org/10.1080/21670811.2021.1996253
B.8 Exploring Digital Interactions with Erving Goffman
Organizers: Stefan Laube1, René Werner1, Franziska Gürtl2, Christian Dayé2
1: Johannes Kepler Universität Linz, Austria; 2: Graz University of Technology, Austria
Sociologists have a long tradition in exploring how people navigate their involvements in their daily social encounters. Referring to the work of Erving Goffman, “involvement” means the extent to which individuals engage themselves in matters that happen in their observable spaces. The degree of involvement that actors are expected to show and display fundamentally varies from situation to situation. It depends on how the situation itself is socially defined, on the participants’ role in it, on demographic characteristics (e.g. age, gender, class) and on the applicability of tacit rules etc. (Goffman 1959, 1963, 1982).
Digital spaces, it seems, have complicated the social regulation of engagement. To start with, the Covid-19 pandemic led to an increase of working online, often from the home office, including technological tools like video-conferences, instant messengers or programs for cooperative work. Furthermore, digital spaces now also include various social networks (“social media”), both for personal and professional contexts, ranging from Facebook to ResearchGate. As part of these media, bots or partly AI-based automatisms attempt to increase the involvement of their users by alerts, posts or other pull marketing, either related to work or private interests or passions.
Furthermore, people working with programs and software engage with user-interfaces that are designed to keep them involved for the task at hand. In regards to algorithmic decision-making for example, people can be involved emotionally and cognitively with the decision-outcome to various degrees (Bader/Kaiser 2019). And while the interaction between people in digitally mediated situations and the ‘interaction’ between people and software might not be the same, one can find strategies and various degrees of attachment and detachment in people’s engagement with the given situation in both cases.
Goffmans’ theorizing (mainly) regarded face-to-face encounters as the primordial form of interaction. Thus, recent work focused on elaborating and remedying the consequences of this fundamental assumption for theoretical conceptions of social interaction (e.g. Knorr Cetina 2009, Pinch 2010). The objective of the session, in contrast, is a different one. It is to use the irritation that comes from reading Goffman’s work today as a device to explore the effects digital technologies have on social interaction. Questions addressed might include:
- What are the new rules for engagement and distance?
- How do people show, and use, different states of involvement, ranging from full attention to states like “accessibility” and “time-outs”?
- What role do different digital technologies or media play in this (see e.g. Ayaß 2014)?
- What is “civil inattention” in the digital sphere, and how is it enacted?
- What conflicts of involvement might arise with regard to the increased entanglement of online and offline situations ?
- What is there to gain by studying human-machine interfaces with notions of involvement, situation and interaction?
Proposals might approach the question of how rules of involvement are negotiated in digital spaces of work, education, or private life on a theoretical and/or empirical basis. Doing so, they might use ideas and concepts from STS, sociology of interaction, sociology of technology and media, and/or related fields.
B.9 Who translates, who benefits? Digital translation work in posthuman multilingual societies – cancelled
Organizers: Stefan Baumgarten, Sebnem Bahadir-Berzig
Universität Graz, Austria
Translation technologies and digital translation work are amongst the major transformational drivers in contemporary multilingual societies. Translators and interpreters shape and service the communication needs across a huge array of (institutional and industrial) agents belonging to different language communities. Most research on digital translation work tends to ascribe decision-making processes to the extended and distributed cognitions of human agents. However, with the steady intrusion of novel technologies, the stakeholders in transcultural communication – whether translators, interpreters, educators or researchers – have developed differing attitudes towards digital translation work. On the one hand, a long-standing discourse of techno-scientific and industrial triumphalism keeps hailing the benefits of translation technologies for education and learning as well as for the optimization of linguistic data flows. The utopian dream of overcoming Babel by means of neural machine translation, however, has come to be increasingly challenged by an emerging critical approach towards the all too ready acceptance of the apparent liberating powers of automated translation tools.
Yet, while Translation Studies has been haunted by a rigid modernist differentiation between human translation and machine translation, critical posthumanist approaches have begun to fruitfully debate the splitting of agency between humans and machines alongside new conceptions on hybrid identities and the automation of industrial (translation) workflows (Baumgarten and Cornellà-Detrell 2017, Braidotti 2013, Cronin 2020, Rozmysłowicz 2019). Seen from a critical perspective, therefore, digitalized translation has severe consequences not only for a new understanding of the corporeality and materiality of transcultural communication, but also for the survival of linguistically diverse societies and the political and social participation of language minorities. Today, the translation industry remains enthralled to an exclusivist neoliberal ideology, especially concerning the neo-Taylorist organization of digital workflows. Against this overall background, this panel aims to critically assess the wide-ranging phenomenon of digitalized translation in posthuman multilingual societies in connection with a host of sociocultural, ethical and economic ‘real world’ challenges.
Benjamin’s and Derrida’s seminal thoughts on translation have been widely discussed through a cultural prism: But what is the ‘task of the translator’ or what constitutes a ‘relevant translation’ in the digitalized societies of ‘posthuman’ times?
- Critical Posthumanism challenges a rigid anthropological divide across human and non-human agents: How can we rethink the question of translator identity with respect to today’s digitalized translation flows?
- Modern translation technologies generate new skills profiles for translators and interpreters, e.g. postediting or crowdsourcing work: But who actually translates in these brave new ‘posthuman’ networks of translation?
- There is continuous debate about the human-machine interaction continuum in digital translation work: How can we (re)conceptualize this interaction in terms of hybrid agency or corporeal prosthesis?
- Based on huge volumes of language data, neural machine translation systems deliver good quality translations to an unprecedented degree: But what do these data consist of and who benefits in material terms?
The panel will be organized alongside three different but interconnected formats:
In part 1, and following the organizers’ thematic introduction, we will begin with ‘polemical’ positioning papers (10 minutes per paper). Framing their case with a cultural and critical theory stance, each positioning paper will present one concrete scenario surrounding digital translation work in posthuman multilingual societies. We welcome abstracts for positioning papers on any concrete scenarios or case studies. The participants will have to submit their papers in advance. In part 2, each participant will receive the position paper of one of the contributors and prepare a response. In this way, all participants will react to the position papers by presenting a critical reflection (5 minutes per response) on these cases and their theoretical framings. The concluding panel discussion in part 3 will further encourage interdisciplinary debate on the session topic, leading to a possible joint publication.
KEYWORDS: translation studies, critical posthumanism, digital translation, multilingualism, neo-Taylorism
- Baumgarten, S. and J. Cornellà-Detrell (eds.) (2017) ‘Translation in times of technocapitalism’,
Special issue, Target: International Journal of Translation Studies 29:2.
- Benjamin, W. (1923/2012) ‘The translator’s task’, in The Translation Studies Reader, ed. by
L. Venuti, London and New York: Routledge, pp. 75–83.
- Braidotti, R. (2013) The Posthuman, Malden and Cambridge: Polity Press.
- Cronin, M. (2020) ‘Translation and Posthumanism’, in The Routledge Handbook of Translation
and Ethics, ed. by N. Pokorn and K. Koskinen, London and New York: Routledge, pp. 279–293.
- Derrida, J. (1999/2012) ‘What is a “relevant” translation?’, in The Translation Studies Reader,
ed. by L. Venuti, London and New York: Routledge, pp. 365-388.
- Rozmysłowicz, Tomasz (2019) ‚Die Geschichtlichkeit der Translation(swissenschaft). Zur
paradigmatischen Relevanz der maschinellen Übersetzung‘, Chronotopos 2:1, 17-41.
B.10 Political Participation, Youth and Social Media
Organizers: Susanne Sackl-Sharif1, Eva Goldgruber2
1: University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, Austria; 2: Web Literacy Lab, FH JOANNEUM – University of Applied Sciences Graz, Austria
Young people increasingly feel insufficiently involved in respectively excluded from public debates, and the Covid-19 pandemic intensified this strongly (Heinzlmaier & Rohrer 2021). However, young people are interested in participating in democratic life, as social movements such as Fridays for Future or Black Lives Matter show. But they wish for new (online) possibilities and (online) spaces to contribute (European Commission 2016).
The internet and social media were once seen as opportunities for more political participation and democracy. On the one hand, social media offers the possibility to distribute content and react very fast, mobilize others, and influence social and political debates (McNutt 2018). On the other hand, social media’s technical form increasingly threatens to polarize and segment the public, e.g., through online hate speech (Sackl-Sharif, Fischer-Lessiak, Goldgruber & Radkohl 2020).
Against this background, we will explore the question of which social media young people currently use for political participation in this panel. And we will focus on what extent social media such as TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, etc. promote or prevent political participation.
We define political youth participation very broadly. On a general level, it includes activities through which young people develop or express their political opinions (online). Furthermore, it also addresses activities such as trying to take part in decision-making or influencing political decisions, for example through online protests (organized in social movements). Therefore, submissions can be based on, but are not limited to the following questions:
- Definitions: How is the term political participation defined and used by young people in the context of their social media use?
- Usage: Which digital platforms use young people for political activities (e.g., online protests)? What kind of user experience is expected by young people?
- Literacies: What competencies do young people need for / gain through political activities on digital platforms (e.g., digital literacies, web literacies, media literacies)?
- Limitations: What is currently missing on digital platforms to enable political participation (e.g., connected to the technological structure or design of social media)? Who cannot participate in political online discussions (e.g. due to a digital divide)? What problems limitate the possibilities for political participation on digital platforms (e.g. online hate speech)?
- Pandemic shifts: What has changed through Covid-19?
European Commission (2016) EU Youth Report 2015, European Union, Luxembourg.
Heinzlmaier, B. and Rohrer, M. (2021) Jugendwertestudie 2021. Ländervergleich Österreich – Deutschland: Eine Generation im Kampf mit der Corona-Pandemie, Vienna.
McNutt, J.G. (2018) Technology, Activism, and Social Justice in a Digital Age, Oxford University Press.
Sackl-Sharif, S., Fischer-Lessiak, G., Goldgruber, E. and Radkohl, S. (2020) “The Public-Private Dichotomy and Online Hate Speech: Communication Studies and Legal Perspectives”, I-LanD Journal. Identity, Language and Diversity, 2020(2), pp. 10-29.
B.11 Imagining care-ful datafied futures
Organizers: Irina Zakharova1, Juliane Jarke2
1: University of Bremen: ZeMKI & ifib, Germany; 2: University of Graz, Austria: BANDAS-Center & Department of Sociology
This session draws on concepts and ethics of care (Lindén & Lydahl, 2021) as a lens for exploring socio-technical arrangements currently upholding and enabling the datafication of society. Care here is both a practice of local tinkering (Mol, 2008) and an ‘ethico-political obligation’ (Puig de la Bellacasa, 2017) enacted differently by societal, political, and commercial actors partaking in datafication processes.
We understand datafication as the increasing importance of (big) digital data and their (presumable) ability to quantify previously unmeasurable societal processes. Digital data promise societal actors across various domains, from health, to education, to businesses, the ability to know more and act more efficiently, ultimately achieving a better world (Mayer-Schönberger & Cukier, 2013). As scholars in STS and most recently also critical and feminist data studies have shown, however, the promise that positions data systems as ‘solutions’ to societal problems, neglects the complex socio-technical arrangements in which datafication processes are entangled (D’Ignazio & Klein, 2020). They argue that this solutionist approach to imagining datafied futures leads to design practices that exclude considerations of care-ful sociodigital relations. For example, such design practices neglect how datafied arrangements enable social actors to provide or receive care.
In line with this research, we propose to shift our attention from the implications of digital data for societies as ‘matters of concern’ to one that understands datafication processes as “matters of care” (Puig de la Bellacasa 2017) configuring current and yet-to-be social relations. Building upon these discourses in STS and data studies, this session aims to explore which possibilities an academic attention to ‘care’ in datafied societies opens for imagining more just and equitable futures for all.
Within this line of research, we invite conceptual and empirical contributions applying feminist, decolonial, and other critical lenses of care to various kinds of digital technologies such as conversational agents (e.g. chatbots), platforms and apps, automated-decision making systems, data infrastructures in different areas of application. Topics can include theoretical, methodological, and empirical reflections attending but not limited to the following questions:
- What can we learn by examining datafied futures as care-less or care-ful?
- How do practices of data care evolve through and in opposition to human-centred care practices and responsibilities?
- What ‘dark sides of care’ (Martin et al., 2015) are obscured when care is presented as an individual obligation and practice?
We also encourage (innovative) formats that speculate about more care-ful datafied futures.
D’Ignazio, C., & Klein, L. F. (2020). Data Feminism. The MIT Press.
Lindén, L., & Lydahl, D. (2021). Editorial: Care in STS. Nordic Journal of Science and Technology Studies, 3–12.
Martin, A., Myers, N., & Viseu, A. (2015). The politics of care in technoscience. Social Studies of Science, 45(5), 625–641.
Mayer-Schönberger, V., & Cukier, K. (2013). Big data: A revolution that will transform how we live, work and think. Murray.
Mol, A. (2008). The logic of care: Health and the problem of patient choice. Routledge.
Puig de la Bellacasa, M. (2017). Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More than Human Worlds. University of Minnesota Press.
B.12 AI-based decision support systems for medicine and healthcare: Negotiations in development and practice
Renate Baumgartner1, Kevin Wiggert2
Organization(s): 1: Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany; 2: Technische Universität Berlin, Germany
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an emerging and contested topic in biomedical research and healthcare (Topol 2019, Gianfrancesco et al. 2018, Garvin 2019). Particularly decision support systems (DSSs) are increasingly developed and introduced into the field of healthcare, with different ontological and epistemological consequences (e.g., van Baalen et al. 2021). AI-based DSSs are intended to support healthcare professionals in making medical decisions, assumedly providing recommendations ranging from diagnosis and treatment to aftercare, including medical fields such as lung cancer, cardiovascular diseases, systemic inflammatory response syndrome, or HIV (Baumgartner 2021, Wiggert 2021). Thus, covering many relevant fields of healthcare, DSSs are associated with a number of different expectations of the actors involved – from medical professionals, patients, but also engineers and bioinformaticians (Winter and Carusi 2022). Next to those high expectations, questions arise regarding the influence of a DSS on reasoning, work routines, organizational structures, knowledge production, use of data and general status of medical experts arise.
Those concerns are part of social processes of negotiation between the actors involved. They can take various shapes: For example, they can be argued out verbally, become manifest through unequal social relations of power between the involved actors or inscribed into the respective DSS. Therefore, this panel aims to look at the manifold processes of negotiation taking place throughout development, implementation, and practical use of AI-based DSSs. Against this background, we would like to raise discussions based (not only) on the following questions:
- Who is part of the development, implementation and/or application processes and how are they involved? Which negotiations and conflicts happen in the respective social arenas? How do power dynamics in the field change through the DSS?
- Which negotiations occur around data? How does the (type of) data influence the development of or practices with the tool, the results of the DSS, the conceptualization of the problem to be solved, etc.?
- (How) are patients or medical professionals represented and (re)framed through the DSS? How is their potentially new role negotiated?
- Different types of knowledge may be transferred into the tool and represented by it. (How) Are these new types of knowledge production through the DSS negotiated? How do they change the fields, their ontologies and epistemologies?
- Who is perceived as the user? Who is the (actual) user (e.g., doctors, nurses, others)?
- How do clinical DSSs influence the social worlds where they are used in? How does the area where a DSS is applied in affect the tool? Which conflicts emerge?
- What is the social function of the DSS in the field? What other functions exist for different stakeholders beside the ones claimed by the developers?
B.13 Bringing STS and the sociologies of work and organization together: A joint perspective for understanding digitalization?
Orgnizers: Anna Pillinger, Stefanie Raible
JKU Linz, Austria
Digital technologies, work, and organizations are tremendously interwoven and co-constructed. Whereas digitalization has become a ‘hot topic’ in the field of STS and sociology of work or sociology of organization in recent discussions, these discussions often tend to be separate from each other. For understanding the multiple sociotechnical phenomena associated with digitalization in a fruitful way, a common debate would be beneficial for both STS and the sociologies of work and organization.
In this panel, we want to invite scholars from STS, sociology of work and sociology of organization, to shed light on the digitalization of work in organizations with a joint perspective. We perceive the emerging research on the phenomenon of digitalization of work and organizations as an opportunity and necessity to bring STS on the one hand and sociology of work and sociology of organization on the other hand closer together. Therefore, we want to encourage a recursively nourishing debate between researchers working in those scientific communities. Contributions for this panel could reach from STS research, concerned with digitalization of work and organizations to papers from the sociologies of work or organization using or integrating concepts from STS to scrutinize the digitalization of work in organizations. We also especially welcome scholars curious in exploring this intersection with their submissions. Of course, contributions can be work-in-progress discussing current obstacles and challenges of combining STS and the sociologies of work and organization in one or another way. Consequently we invite researchers with theoretical, conceptual and empirical papers scrutinizing sociotechnical phenomena such as and not limited to:
- Remote work and working from home
- AI supported organizational decision making
- Platform mediated work
- Technological development in organizational fields
- Robotics in different organizations (ranging from senior homes to industry)
- Digital care technologies
Our panel will include presentations of the papers as well as a concluding discussion on the question of how to combine STS and sociology of work or sociology of organization, and on common challenges and goals. More pointedly we aim at discussing the question, if the digitalization of work and organizations might be a joint venture for the STS as well as the sociology of work/sociology of organization communities. Taking the idea of connecting different research communities working on digitalization seriously, we plan to foster these discussions by organizing an online-get-together for the authors in advance of the conference. This should allow us to reflect together on our own disciplines and where our research is situated as well as getting to know each other’s research interests.
B.14 Cultures of Prediction
Organizers: Christian Dayé1, Jan Balon2
1: Graz University of Technology, Austria; 2: Czech Academy of Science, Czech Republic
Prediction is a fundamental process in virtually all forms of decision-making. Images of the future inform political discourses and business strategies; they shape individual plans and societal institutions, ranging from the law to religion. Not surprisingly, then, images of the future are an inherent, although sometimes tacit element of uncountable fields and programs within the sciences, ranging from sustainability research to technology assessment, from technological foresight to anticipatory governance, from Responsible Research & Innovation to the promises of Big Data. This is also promoted by recent developments in research funding, where successful project applications are expected to elaborate on the expected future impact of the proposed research.
Compared to other knowledge claims, however, predictions suffer unavoidably from uncertainty—how to know something that cannot be known. To address and eventually establish a solution to the problems related to this uncertainty is a collective achievement of both the prediction practitioners and their audiences. Predictions are thus embedded in cultures that serve to stabilize the predictive claim and establish its legitimacy. Such cultures of prediction (Fine 2007; Daipha 2015; Heymann, Gramelsberger and Mahony 2017), and thus the actions, rituals, and structures by which predictive knowledge claims are produced, stabilized, communicated, and evaluated have been in the focus of similar sessions at the STS Graz Conference in 2021 and 2022.
This year, we want to broaden this perspective to address not only the production side of the story, but also the effects predictive knowledge claims has on the audiences. In that, the session follows the comparative analysis recently put forth by Jamie L. Pietruska (2018), whose work on prediction and uncertainty in the United States combined a view on the production site with in-depth assessments of how the various publics reacted towards the increasing presence of foreknowledge claims. In the period covered, i.e. the 19th and early 20th centuries, Pietruska found that the ability to cope with insecurity grew. Apparently, with the increased presence of the future, people both developed a clearer view for the limitations of (scientific) prediction and became more relaxed towards the future (both in individual and collective perspective).
We are looking forward to receiving papers that explore these and related themes, especially when they contextualize them in a broader picture of socio-technical change.
Daipha, Phaedra. 2015. Masters of Uncertainty: Weather Forecasters and the Quest for Ground Truth. Chicago, London: University of Chicago Press.
Fine, Gary Alan. 2007. Authors of the Storm: Meteorologists and the Culture of Prediction. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Heymann, Matthias, Gabriele Gramelsberger, and Martin Mahony. 2017. Cultures of Prediction in Atmospheric and Climate Science: Epistemic and Cultural Shifts in Computer-Based Modelling and Simulation. Taylor & Francis.
Pietruska, Jamie L. 2018. Looking Forward: Prediction & Uncertainty in Modern America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
B.15 In, out or something in between: Inclusion and belonging in digital spaces
Organziers: Linda Nierling1, Poonam Pandey1,2
1: Institute of Technology Assessment and System Analysis (ITAS), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany; 2: Post-Growth Innovation lab, University of Vigo, Spain
The ongoing digitalization of society requires paying attention to the entanglement of agendas (policy/corporate, hype/fear), actors (stakeholders and non-users), and artefacts (digital technologies and platforms) that co-produce socio-technical systems (Jasanoff 2004, van Lente and Rip 2017). In order to better understand the entanglement of the social with the digital, this panel aims to focus on the questions of inclusion and belonging in digital spaces. Inclusion is a process that ensures democratic engagement with the worldviews and values of a diversity of people who are impacted by any social, technical, and political decisions. Belonging on the other hand is a socially negotiated, relationally defined attribute that ensures that everyone feels secure and comfortable in their surrounding and in being who they are. Though inclusion is essential for belonging it does not guarantee it. Altogether inclusion and belonging constitute some of the core features of any respectful, just, and democratic socio-technical system. Drawing from TA (Delvenne & Grunwald 2019), STS (Irani 2019), gender (diversity and feminist) studies (Goggins et al. 2019, Haraway 1988, Puig de la Bellacasa 2011) we will engage with the questions of what inclusion and belonging entails in digital spaces: How are inclusion and belonging constituted by agendas, artefacts, and actors in digital spaces and how does it impact co-production of just and democratic digital (socio-technical) systems? What are the potential mechanisms through which inclusion and belonging could be encouraged and instituted at different levels, e.g. the individual, the technological, the organizational but also institutional (policy) level?
The panel invites submissions from diverse scholarly disciplines as well as practitioners that problematize and discuss inclusion and belonging in the digital world from the following perspectives:
- Knowledge and reflections on political or corporate agendas which motivates social research taking up the issue of inclusion and belonging
- Consideration of novel scientific research methods for the research on actor’s perspectives for inclusion and belonging in digital spaces, e.g. real-world labs towards digitalization to include stakeholders’ views on digital technologies and digital social and political platforms; digital ethnography, or other more specific methods to face the challenges of lack of transparency and privacy, circulation of fake news, and polarization of views intensified by digital media.
- Research results, e.g. case studies, focusing on the role of digital artefacts enabling or disabling inclusion and belonging to digital spaces.
Following the scientific talks, at the end of the session we want to launch an interactive format to discuss with the speakers the power dynamics that go into digital subject-making that enable or disable someone and/ or something from inclusion and belonging to digital spaces.