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The Work and the Net: a Critical Reflection on Facebook-Research Methods and Optical Mediation


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van Loon, Joost ; Unsöld, Laura:
The Work and the Net: a Critical Reflection on Facebook-Research Methods and Optical Mediation.
Eichstätt : Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, 2014. - 27 S. - (Eichstätter Beiträge zur Soziologie ; 2)


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In his recent writings, Bruno Latour (e.g. 2013: 31) has insisted on distinguishing social science that treats networks as results from research that concerns itself with networks as process. Whereas the first type of research focuses on what circulates once everything has been put into place, the second focuses on the assembling itself. For Latour Actor Network Theory (ANT) only refers to the second and therefore has to be strictly separated from other kinds of Network Theory, such as “Relational Sociology” (Crossley, 2010; Donati, 2010; Emirbyayer, 1997, Häußling, 2010) or Manuel Castells’ (1996) conception of “Network Society”. In this contribution, we are asking the question whether this implies that there can be no analysis of digital social networks on the basis of Actor-Network Theory? By focusing more closely on practical methods of researching Facebook (in particular, we will analyse a Fan Page in terms of modalities of association, actual occurrences or entities, temporality and degree centrality and betweenness centrality) and how they are being deployed, we will argue that, in order trace the process of assembling a network, we need to take into account the technologies that enable the quantification and visualization of network-flows. By opening up ANT to a conceptualization of the virtual, we hope to establish a new direction in network research that can benefit from both existing traditions by showing that (1) ANT can help Network Analysis to become more theoretically precise and sociologically relevant; (2) Network Analysis can further support ANT in developing an analytical grasp of the empirical dimension of the technological infrastructure of social networking through its distinctively graphical modes of visualization, and (3) any empirical account of networking requires from the outset a thorough engagement with optical mediation including its technical facilitation and a conception of the virtual in order to understand the social.

Weitere Angaben

Publikationsform:Projektbericht, Forschungsbericht, Gutachten
Schlagwörter:Network Research; Actor-Network Theory; Facebook; Optical Mediation
Institutionen der Universität:Geschichts- und Gesellschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät > Soziologie > Lehrstuhl für Allgemeine Soziologie und Soziologische Theorie
Schriftenreihe der KU:Eichstätter Beiträge zur Soziologie ; 2
Open Access: Freie Zugänglichkeit des Volltexts?:Ja
Titel an der KU entstanden:Ja
Eingestellt am: 16. Jun 2016 12:52
Letzte Änderung: 19. Jan 2021 12:28
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