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  • Published: Sep 17th, 2013

QUMU Seminar: Jenny Sundén
Falling in (and out of) love with your research

Time: 24 Sept, 13:15 – 14:45
Venue: HUMlab, below the university library

Jenny Sundén is Associate Professor in Gender Studies at Södertörn University, Sweden. Her research interests are primarily in new media studies, cultural studies, feminist theory, ethnography, and games. She is the author of Material Virtualities: Approaching Online Textual Embodiment (Peter Lang, 2003) and Gender and Sexuality in Online Game Cultures: Passionate Play (Routledge, 2012, with Malin Sveningsson), as well as a co-editor of Cyberfeminism in Northern Lights: Gender and Digital Media in a Nordic Context (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007).

This presentation is about passionate scholarship. It is about working with and through one’s passions as a researcher, and of allowing for such feelings to guide and shape ways of thinking and writing scholarly texts. In particular, it is an attempt to think and write embodied ways of knowing by drawing on the affective attachments to technologies central to contemporary fan cultures, using as core examples the practices of online gamers as well as of steampunks. The academic discussion of affect is usually ontological rather than epistemological and only rarely spells out the methodological consequences of making sense through sensation. For what does it mean to work in an analytical register of embodiment and emotion? What do we, as researchers, make of our own ‘gut feelings’ and desires in research? In what ways may bodily remembering, relating, and belonging be used as sources of knowledge? And what happens when we are not feeling it, or simply stop feeling it?

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  • Published: Apr 3rd, 2013

QUMU Seminar: Andrew Whelan
Method and morality in researching ‘extreme’ music subcultures

This QUMU seminar will be held on 22 May 15.15 – 16.30 in HUMlab-X on the Arts Campus. It features invited guest Andrew Whelan from the School of Social Sciences, Media and Communication at the University of Wollongong. Andrew’s research interests are music subcultures (electronic musics, death metal, noise), youth subcultures and language practices, online interaction, ethnomethodology and social theory. One of his ongoing projects looks at the histories of a number of independent Australian music scenes (such as electronic dance music and heavy metal) with the aim of exploring how participants negotiate identity both within the subculture and in relation to broader categories such as gender, age, sexuality and ethnicity.

Abstract
How should we go about researching ‘extreme’ music, and what moral position should we take as researchers with respect to it? How can we best conceptualise where music scenes ‘begin’ and ‘end’, or think about the relationship between subcultural ‘texts’ (songs, album covers and so on) and the scenic practices (attending gigs, reading and talking about and listening to music etc.) that constitute music subcultures? These sorts of questions become critical when we come to consider genres articulating disturbing political positions – genres where obscenity, transgression, and moral shock serve as common aesthetic/tactical resources, where expressions of misogyny and racism are commonplace.

Insights from ethnomethodology, critical discourse analysis, institutional ethnography, and actor network theory can help illuminate the grounds on which we could advocate for good answers to such questions, grounds which would also allow for ambivalence, mess and contradiction. They can also help delineate critical understandings of cultural expression at the limits of the acceptable, and outline our responsibilities as researchers, to the scenes we investigate and to the ethics of research as a political project.

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  • Published: Apr 2nd, 2013

QUMU Seminar: Stefan Larsson
Studying norms, metaphors, law and behaviour in a digital context

This QUMU seminar will be held on 18 April 10.15 – 12.00 in HUMlab (H2). It features invited guest Stefan Larsson, postdoc in Sociology of Law, head of Lund University Internet Institute, and member of the  Cybernorms research group.

Cybernorms  was started in 2009 and has done a number of studies on Internet related issues, particularly regarding file-sharing in relation to copyright law. This has regarded demographic aspects captured in online surveys, file-sharing frequencies and opinions and practices of online anonymity, but also legal method, theoretically bound measurement of social norm’s strength as well as more qualitative (and quantitative) attempts on understanding conceptual metaphors.

The surveys have ranged from a number of approx. 1000 Swedes between 15-25 to a near global, via a collaboration with The Pirate Bay, reaching over 96,000 respondents. Stefan’s talk will discuss the different methods used, what they might say and not say, and attempts to capture where the methodology could or should be improved.

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  • Published: Nov 19th, 2012

QUMU Seminar: Mona Livholts
Fragments of Speech and Stories: Memory Work as a ThinkingWriting Methodology

The next QUMU seminar will be held on 4 December 13.15 – 15.00 in bt214 (Beteendevetarhuset, level 2). It features invited guest Mona Livholts who is Associate Professor of Social Work at Mid Sweden University, coordinator of R.A.W., The Network for Reflexive Academic Writing Methodologies and guest researcher at The Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs, Stockholm University 2011-2012. Her research focuses on emergent writing methodologies in a wider context of method transformation plagued by inter- and transdisciplinarity. Particular interest is directed towards new methods in the intersection of social sciences and the arts. Current research themes include: media studies, gender, space and memory, alcohol and rape, and scholarly auto/biography/ethnodrama.

The seminar is entitled “Fragments of Speech and Stories: Memory Work as a ThinkingWriting Methodology”. Memory work is a method that was developed in women’s groups in Germany during the 1970’s by Frigga Haug, introduced to a wider audience through the book Female Sexualization. A Collective Work of Memory (1987). The characteristic of memory work is to work with concrete detailed memories following different steps of writing, discussing, rewriting, for the purpose of linking the everyday and mundane to larger structures of ideas, norms and power relations in society. Since Haug and her group developed the method in a collective form, it has been used as an individual, collaborative and collective method in a range of different topics and disciplines in the study of power.

Mona will draw upon some of the key work of memory work studies to show the complexity, challenges and possibilities of this emergent method. With inspiration from her own uses of memory work she suggests that the term thinkingwriting methodology is helpful in acknowledging the central role of writing in ‘doing the work’ in memory work and thus a driving force to shape thinking and imagination. She will argue that contemporary methodological renewal urges us to reconsider memory work in relation to creative and reflexive forms of writing and visualizing research such as dialogue, letters, theatre and photography.

Please sign up here (coffee and biscuit for everyone).

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  • Published: Nov 19th, 2012

QUMU Workshop:
ATLAS.ti training

A successful 2-day training workshop in Atlas.ti was co-hosted by QUMU and HUMlab on 15-16 November. It was led by Dr Christina Silver from the University of Surrey. Email info@qumu.se if you are interested in attending similar future workshop, or if you are interested in acquiring a license for Atlas.ti.

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  • Published: Sep 17th, 2012

QUMU Seminar Series:
Discursive Psychology

This autumn, QUMU is giving a series of seminars and workshops on the theme of discursive psychological perspectives in research.The idea behind this is to provide an opportunity for in-depth discussions, knowledge exchange and networking between PhD students and researchers working with DP. The first workshop takes place in conjunction with a graduate course in discourse analysis on 15 November. On this occasion, an introduction to DP in theory and practice is given for those not already familiar with the basics. The two other workshops focus on the sharing of experiences of DP in practice.

Thursday 15 November in NA332 
10.15-12 Lecture: DP in theory & practice
(Maritha Jacobsson)

Thursday 6 December at the Department of Sociology (3rd floor BVH)
10.15-12 Practical workshop
(Hanna Bertilsdotter Rosqvist)

Thursday 13 December in Ansvaret
10.15-12 Workshop: DP in practice
a) Experiences of the craft
(Hanna Bertilsdotter Rosqvist & Eva Magnusson)
b) Practical workshop 2

For more information about the seminars/workshops, please contact Hanna.Bertilsdotter@soc.umu.se

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  • Published: Apr 5th, 2012

QUMU Seminar: Ulrika Schmauch & Katarina Giritli-Nygren
When There Are No Common Words:
Using visual material in research on the racialization of place

This qumu seminar takes place 25 May 10.15-12.00 in Ansvaret and features Ulrika Schmauch, senior lecturer at the department of Sociology, Umeå University and Katarina Giritli-Nygren, senior lecturer at the department of Social Sciences, MidSweden University. Ulrika and Katarina will present results from the research project “Mitt Sundsvall”, focused on understanding the hidden boundaries in the town of Sundsvall in relation to ethnic relationships taking place in everyday settings such as the neigbourhood, the town square and the public library. The project was conducted in collaboration with students of the SFI in Sundsvall (Svenska För Invandrare/Swedish For Immigrants). In relation to the project they will argue that while research is always crisscrossed by relationships of power, the usage of different kinds of visual material tends to make available other kinds of stories than more traditional forms of qualitative data. Also, they will argue that visual material is especially useful in research settings where researcher and researched do not have access to a common language as it tends to destabilize the preferred readings of the researchers and thus making participants influence over the research stronger.

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  • Published: Jan 30th, 2012

QUMU Seminar: Anders Larsson
Studying Social Media:
Methodological and Ethical Challenges

Our next qumu seminar takes place 28 February 13.15-15.00 in Ansvaret and features Anders Larsson, PhD candidate (since 2008) and junior lecturer (since 2004) at the department of Informatics and Media, Uppsala university. The title of the talk is “Studying Social Media: Methodological and Ethical Challenges”.

Emerging online arenas offer new possibilities for the study of online public communication aided by computer-assisted methods of data collection. However, these possibilities also entail challenges. During my talk, I will deal with two sets of such challenges. Firstly, the scale of the data available for collection and quantitative analysis challenge our methodological frames as we collect, sort and study large-scale quantitative data sets – often with the use of computer software for visualizations. Researchers need not only to master new tools for data collection, but also be able to critically assess the practices of these new approaches. The second set of challenges concerns ethics, as researchers need to renegotiate the borders between private and public when dealing with data from social media platforms. The methodological issues to be assessed are based on an ongoing research project into the use of Twitter as a micro-blogging service for public debate in the Scandinavian countries. Combining social network analysis of large-scale data sets with a more qualitative approach to user behaviour, the project seeks to grasp the value of tweeting in everyday political talk, as well as in organized political campaigning during recent elections.

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  • Published: Jan 11th, 2012

QUMU Seminar: Hanna Bertilsdotter Rosqvist
Ethnographic Fieldwork and Asperger

The first qumu seminar of 2012 takes place 17 January 13.15-15.00 in Ansvaret and features Hanna Bertilsdotter Rosqvist, Research Fellow in Gender studies and Sociology. The talk is entitled “Trying to grasp it – producing bodily discourses during an ethnographic fieldwork among people with Asperger Syndrome”.

Hanna will present preliminary results from an ongoing research project aiming at describing and analyzing experiences and representations of Asperger Syndrome (AS) among adults diagnosed with AS in ”Asperger normative” settings (i.e. social environments dominated by people with AS). As part of the study she did three months of ethnographic fieldwork in one such environment; at a postsecondary vocational course for adults diagnosed with AS. The research included on-site participant observation and thematic interviews with students and teaching assistants, individually and in groups.

During the fieldwork, Hanna was trying to learn how to behave so as to fit into the group, and experienced AS in the group as both a verbal and a bodily discourse. During the fieldwork, her subject position was constantly shifting based on social interactions in the group, being either that of an “outsider who is trying to understand” or a “person with Asperger.” During the seminar Hanna will reflect on the different bodily discourses.What kind of research subjectivities were produced or excluded through these discourses?

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  • Published: Dec 13th, 2011

QUMU Seminar: Christian Fuchs
Critical Theory and Alternative Media

Leading internet researcher Christian Fuchs, a professor of Media and Communications at Uppsala University, is visiting Umeå University for two days and giving two seminars. These are not pure methods seminars, but are co-presented by qumu, The Department of Culture and Media Studies and HUMlab, and will no doubt be relevant to the qumu field of interest.

 

December 14, 15:15-16:30, C204 Humanities building
The Political Economy of Social Media

The task of this presentation is to analyze the political economy of social media in contemporary capitalism. Prosumption is the convergence of production and consumption of goods and services. First, I discuss the prosumption concept in relation to the approaches of Karl Marx, Alvin Toffler, George Ritzer and Manuel Castells. A critique of Manuel Castells’ “theory” of communication power in the “network society” is presented. Second, the idea of authors like Henry Jenkins or Yochai Benkler that online prosumption (“social media/web”, “web 2.0”) has resulted in a “participatory Internet” or a “participatory culture” is criticized. It is in contrast stressed that in the contemporary situation of global capitalist crisis it is important to remember the socialist origins of the concept of participatory democracy (Crawford Macpherson, Carole Pateman) and of Jürgen Habermas’ concept of the public sphere.

Third, prosumption on the Internet is discussed by analyzing to which extent the following web platforms advance prosumption-oriented participatory democracy and the public sphere or not: Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Wikipedia, WikiLeaks.Fourth, it is maintained that in order to understand social relations offline and online in the current turbulent times a renewal of Karl Marx’s theory and of critical political economy is needed. The contributions to class theory by Karl Marx, Rosa Luxemburg, Erik Olin Wright and Michael Hardt/Antonio Negri are discussed. A specific model of class in contemporary capitalist society is used for explaining and criticizing the exploitation of Internet prosumers. Based on the theory tradition of the critical political economy of the media and communication, the concept of Internet prosumer commodification is introduced.Finally, it is maintained that discussing political-economic alternatives is important. Based on Slavoj Žižek’s, David Harvey’s and Alain Badiou’s recent contributions, it is suggested that a commons-based society is needed that acts as framework for a commons-based Internet and thereby allows the democratization of prosumption and communication.

December 15, 13:15-15:00, HUMlab
Critical Theory and Alternative Media/Journalism

 The presentation deals with the category of alternative media from a critical theory perspective. It aims at developing a definition and to distinguish different dimensions of alternative media. I discuss different ways of how scholars have defined alternative media. The notion of alternative media as critical media is introduced. Critical media product content shows suppressed possibilities of existence, antagonisms of reality, potentials for change. It questions domination, expresses the standpoints of oppressed and dominated groups and individuals and argues for the advancement of a co-operative society. Critical media product form aims at advancing imagination, it is dialectical because it involves dynamics, non-identity, rupture, and the unexpected. The category of critical media is connected to Negt’s and Kluge’s notion of the counter public sphere. Critical media can be seen as the communicative dimension of a counter public sphere. I also discuss one specific example from the sphere of online media: WikiLeaks. I deal with the question if WikiLeaks a) is a form of journalism or not and b) can be seen as an alternative medium or not.