On Continuity in Social Sciences

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On Continuity in Social Sciences

  1. 1. On Continuity in the Social Sciences Tommaso Venturini MathieuJacomy
  2. 2. Houston, we have a problem Apollo 8 December 24, 1968
  3. 3. Welcome to the Anthropocene
  4. 4. The end of Nature
  5. 5. The end of technoscience 3 technoscientific colonizations: of the world by western societies; of traditional communities by modern org. of ecosystems by human beings
  6. 6. Planetary boundaries Rockström et al., Nature 2009 A safe operating space for humanity http://www.ted.com/talks/johan_rockstrom _let_the_environment_guide_our_development.html
  7. 7. Walking on a web of fractures
  8. 8. Hybrid forums (e.g. the IPCC)
  9. 9. Building continuity into our (qualiquantitative) methods Narration: datascape navigation interfaces Data: (intensive-extensive) digital traces Theory: non-emergentist framework
  10. 10. On continuity in social sciences I. Narration (datascape navigation interfaces)
  11. 11. The ‘Pedofil’ of Boavista Bruno Latour (1995) Common Knowledge 4(1)
  12. 12. The scientific chain
  13. 13. The scientific chain The Pedofil of Boa Vista Bruno Latour (1995) Common Knowledge 4(1)
  14. 14. The scientific chain The Pedofil of Boa Vista Bruno Latour (1995) Common Knowledge 4(1)
  15. 15. The narrative arc
  16. 16. The arc of scientific narration
  17. 17. Exploring back
  18. 18. Datascape navigation http://jiminy.medialab. sciences-po.fr/labs/iep/
  19. 19. On continuity in social sciences II. Data (intensive-intensive digital traces)
  20. 20. The strabismus Follow the of social sciences Qualitative White Rabbit methods vs quantitative methods why controversy mapping (and digital methods) will change everything you know about sociology Tommaso Venturini tommaso.venturini@sciences-po.fr Photo credit – tarout_sun via Flickr - ©
  21. 21. The quali/quantitative divide extensive data intensive data
  22. 22. Phocamera VS. Videocamera
  23. 23. The rise of digital methods https://soundcloud.com/mit-cmsw/richardrogers-digital-methods Virtual reality Late ‘80-early ‘90 (Barlow, Turkle, Negroponte, Rheingold) Virtual society? 1997-2002 (Steve Woolgar et al.) Cultural analytics 2007 (Lev Manovitch) Digital methods 2009 (Richard Rogers)
  24. 24. The media as an object of study Photo credit – Brandon Doran via Flickr - ©
  25. 25. The media as carbon paper Chris Harrison Internet connections
  26. 26. Extensive data Paul Butler, 2010 VisualizingFriendships
  27. 27. Intensive data AOL user 711391 search history www.minimovies.org/documentaires/view/ilovealaska
  28. 28. Extensive and intensive data Google Flu www.google.org/flutrends
  29. 29. Extensive and intensive data Google Flu www.google.org/flutrends
  30. 30. Extensive and intensive data Google Flu www.google.org/flutrends
  31. 31. Quali-quantitative methods Top 50 US blogs Ben Fry, 2006 http://nymag.com/news/media/15972/
  32. 32. Datascape navigation Linkscape© by Linkfluence©
  33. 33. On continuity in social sciences III. Theory (non-emergentist framework)
  34. 34. Emergence George Henry Lewes, 1875 Problems of Life and Mind The emergent is unlike its components insofar as these are incommensurable, and it cannot be reduced to their sum or their difference (p. 412)
  35. 35. The amazing dictyostelium discoideum Evelyn Fox Keller “morphogenesis”
  36. 36. God save the ant Queen Theraulaz, G. &Bonabeau, E. (1999) A brief history of stigmergy Artificial Life, 5, 97–116
  37. 37. The bootstrapping of life
  38. 38. The bootstrapping of intelligence
  39. 39. The boostraping of society Thomas Hobbes, 1651 The Leviathan
  40. 40. Sui generis social facts? Emile Durkheim VS Gabriel Tarde
  41. 41. The quali/quantitative divide and itsreification Emile Durkheim, 1912 Le formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse The collective self is not a simple epiphenomenon of its morphologic base, precisely as the individual self is not a simple efflorescence of the nervous system. For the collective self to appear, a sui generis synthesis of individual self has to be produced. This synthesis creates a world of feelings, ideas, images that, once come to life, follow their own laws.
  42. 42. Against emergence Tarde, 1893 Monadologie et sociologie It is surprising to see the men of sciences, so ready to repeat that nothing is ever created from nothing, admitting implicitly (as if it was selfevident) that the connections among different beings can become beings themselves (p. 67)
  43. 43. Against emergence Tarde, 1893 Monadologie et sociologie Let us suppose for a moment that one of our human States, composed not of a few thousand but of a few quadrillions or quintillions of men, hermetically sealed and inaccessible as individuals (like China, but infinitely more populous still, and more closed) was known to us only by the data of its statisticians, whose figures, made up of very large numbers, recurred with extreme regularity. When a political or social revolution, which would be revealed to us by an abrupt enlargement or diminution of some of these numbers, took place in this State, we might well be certain that we would be observing a fact caused by individual ideas and passions, but we would resist the temptation to become lost in superfluous conjectures on the nature of these impenetrable causes even though they alone were the real ones, and the wisest option would appear to us to explain as best we could the unusual numbers by ingenious comparisons with clever manipulations of the normal numbers. We would thereby arrive at least at clear results and symbolic truths. Nonetheless, it would be important from time to time to recall the purely symbolic nature of these truths.
  44. 44. Sui generis social facts? Emile Durkheim VS Gabriel Tarde
  45. 45. Sui generis social facts! Emile Durkheim VS Gabriel Tarde
  46. 46. Where are the structures? Where is the langage?
  47. 47. Where are the structures? Whereis the langage?
  48. 48. 5 concepts derived from ANT Action. Acting is making a difference, that is, interfering with other actions. Association (composition). Action is always collective. The key feature of action is what it interferes with. Construction (black-boxing). A set of actions can be associated so strictly and stably that it can become difficult to distinguish the single interferences. Research (mapping). The work of social research is to untangle the associations of actions. In principle, since actions are always collective, every action can and should be traced back to other actions. Actor. In practice, since it is impossible to attribute actions back to other actions ad infinitum, researchers chose where to stop and call what is left ‘actors’. Actors are black-boxes that could be opened, but are not for the sake of feasibility.
  49. 49. Why is continuity so important?
  50. 50. Why is continuity so important? Collective life is continuous, but not homogenous. To observe how in-homogeneity is build, we need to be sensitive to the difference in the density of association.
  51. 51. Why is continuity so important? Collective life is continuous not homogenous. To observe how non-homogeneity is build, we need to become sensitive to the differences in the density of association.
  52. 52. On continuity in social sciences IV. Why networks
  53. 53. Why networks? 1. social phenomena are networks (cf. ANT) 2. Networks are graphs – computation 3. networks are maps – visualization 4. network are interfaces– manipulation
  54. 54. Network as graphs Euler, 1736, Solutio problematis ad geometriam situs pertinentis
  55. 55. Network as graphs (train routing)
  56. 56. Network as graphs (information routing)
  57. 57. Network as graphs (information retrieval) Lawrence Page Pagerank Patent (6285999)
  58. 58. Networks as maps Jacob L. Moreno, April 3, 1933 The New York Times
  59. 59. Network as maps homepage.ntlworld.com/clivebillson/tube/tube.html - www.fourthway.co.uk/tfl.html London Underground 1920 Map
  60. 60. Network as maps homepage.ntlworld.com/clivebillson/tube/tube.html - www.fourthway.co.uk/tfl.html London Underground 1933 Map (Harry Beck)
  61. 61. Force-vectoralgorithms
  62. 62. Force-vectoralgorithms
  63. 63. Network as maps (or ratherterritories) Kevin Lynch The Image of the City (1959)
  64. 64. Whatmaps are good at
  65. 65. Exploratory Data Analysis Tukey, J. W. (1977) Exploratory Data Analysis
  66. 66. Network as interfaces Pajek vlado.fmf.uni-lj.si/pub/networks/pajek
  67. 67. Network as interfaces Ucinet www.analytictech.com/ucinet
  68. 68. Network as interfaces Guess graphexploration.cond.org
  69. 69. Network as interfaces Gephi gephi.org
  70. 70. User-friendlier interfaces vlado.fmf.uni-lj.si/pub/networks/pajek www.analytictech.com/ucinet graphexploration.cond.org gephi.org
  71. 71. tommaso.venturini@sciences-po.org

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