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Research methods workshop: Methods for studying society-technology relations

  • 23.09.2024
  • Ljubljana, Slovenia


Please register as soon as possible, capacity of the workshop is limited.

Fee: 25 EUR - covering 2 coffee break and lunch (sandwiches)

Location: Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana 

Address: Kardeljeva ploščad 5, 1000 Ljubljana, room FDV 13

(Ground floor of the faculty building straight on from the entrance; check the map:

10.45-11.00 Arriving and morning coffee 

11.00-13.00 „Using vignettes and scenarios in user-centric algorithm studies”- Prof. Ranjana Das (University of Surrey)

In navigating the complexites of data-driven media personalization, researchers encounter challenges stemming from the opacity of algorithmic designs and the perception of emerging technologies as elusive or not fully here yet. This session presents practical insights from using future-orientated vignettes and scenarios to capture user experiences, expectations, and ethical considerations regarding algorithms. Participants will be guided through a three-stage citizens council activity to gain practical insights into the potentials and possibilities of employing vignettes to elicit nuanced perspectives on algorithmic interventions. Key Objectives: Exploring the role of future-orientated vignettes in capturing user experiences and expectations; Designing vignettes and assessing the efficacy (and pitfalls) of vignettes as a tool for eliciting normative reflections on algorithmic practices.

13.00-13.45 light lunch (provided)

13.45-15.45 “When I tried to use ChatGPT in my work”: deconstructing affective entanglements in society-technology relations with mind scripting” – Dr. Doris Allhutter (Austrian Academy of Sciences)

Using ChatGPT or other LLM-based chatbots in academia has been controversial and is becoming the subject of ethical guidelines in many institutions. As academics, we might feel ambivalent as one hears many stories of colleagues finding ways to use them in a creative and inquisitive manner, or others condemning them as flawed and due to their parroting or biased output. Nothing less than academic integrity, the human creation of knowledge, and the ethics of research and teaching seem to hang in the balance.

This session introduces the deconstructive method of mind scripting. It is based on theories of discourse, ideology, memory and affect and aims at investigating hidden patterns of meaning- making in written memories. Mind scripting is an adapted version of Frigga Haug’s Collective Memory Work. It extends Haug’s ideology-critical trajectory to how society-technology relations are (re)configured and materially produced in people’s actions—in everyday practices of developing and appropriating technologies. These mundane practices intra-act with ideologies, hegemonies and affective materialities and in that way enact power relations.

In the session we will start from our own memories on “When I tried to use ChatGPT in my work” to explore the method itself and the grip that technologies that affect us in different ways have on us. The method shows that memories are an emancipatory resource that helps us uncover collective subjectivity and its entanglements in capitalist society-technology relations.

15.45-16.00 coffee break (provided)

16.00-18.00 „Making monsters as methods for studying data work” – Prof. Pille Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt  (Malmö University)

Those who are familiar with Estonian mythology might recognize Kratt – a treasure-bringer monster that is man-made, assembled from existing tools and materials and brought to life by three drops of blood to the devil. Like Jewish Golems, Kratts are in service of the makers, but can also turn against them when the contract has been violated. In the context of contemporary research, an emerging strand of monster research discusses the usefulness of monsters as others, boundary markers, and useful concepts that invite us to consider the ethics and responsibility of making. 

This session invites creative practices of making a Kratt to the service of studying data practices, AI, and datafication. In the workshop, the participants will get a chance to collaborate in Kratt-making. Using digital collage, we build monsters that help us with our data troubles and address them with a plea for help. By finding everyday things to make a monster, we reflect on the metaphors of thinking and working with data. We will give the monsters their own unique names and write them a letter. In the last part of the monster workshop, we will consider the concepts of corporality and otherness that make monsters useful investigative tools in a technology-rich society. 

Lecturer Bios

Ranjana Das is a Professor in Media and Communication in the Department of Sociology at the University of Surrey, United Kingdom. Professor Das researches users. She started her career off research audiences and users, and her current research interests span technology use and user centric research on algorithms, datafication, and broader digital technologies. Very often, she dovetails these interests with her interest in families, parenting and parenthood. She has recently researched citizens’ expectations of data-driven media personalisation, and is currently completing her 5th research book – Parents talking algorithms – due out in 2024 with Bristol University Press. Between 2023 and 2025, she is leading a Leverhulme Research Grant and a British Academy grant – both on various aspects of parents, parenting and technology use. 

Doris Allhutter is a senior scientist at the Institute of Technology Assessment (ITA), Austrian Academy of Sciences, and has been using mind scripting and memory work in teaching and research in STS for more than 15 years. Her main research interest is on the question of how social inequality co-emerges with information infrastructures and sociotechnical systems. She uses mind scripting to trace the implicit normativity of computing practices with a focus on how these practices are entrenched in power relations. Currently, she leads the Austrian team of an international comparative study on Automating Welfare and is a Member of the UNESCO Advisory Board on Ethics of Artificial Intelligence. Her publications on mind scripting include MEMORY TRACES IN SOCIETY-TECHNOLOGY RELATIONS (2022) and Mind Scripting: A Method for Deconstructive Design (2012).

Pille Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt is a professor in media and communication at Malmö University since November 2016 and has previously worked at the University of Tartu as a professor in media studies (2014-2016). She is a member of Academia Europaea Film, Media and Visual studies. Her research interests have focused on cultural citizenship and participation and engagement in museums, libraries and public broadcasting. She has also worked on the topic of internet users and the social applications of new technologies. Methods like autoethnography, action research and collaborative and co-creation methods have been increasingly at the core of her research. She has been an active member in ECREA and in NordMedia networks. Pille is currently the International Director of the European Media and Communication Doctoral Summer School and Treasurer of ECREA. She has been the project leader on different local projects and international projects. These projects have had her working on new and emerging technologies, youth participation and museum engagement questions. She has published over a hundred articles both in journals and as book chapters and has been in the team of editors for more than ten books. She is currently co-leading the Digital Culture stream at the Data Society research programme focusing on the questions of museums and audiences.



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