Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN24_09a_P: Science, Technology, Innovation & Society II
Friday, 01/Sep/2017:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Heta Tarkkala, University of Eastern Finland
Location: PC.4.26
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: C, Level: 4.

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Unmaking and remaking Europe through design: what role for sociology?

Mariacristina Sciannamblo1, Maurizio Teli1, Chiara Bassetti2

1Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute, Portugal; 2University of Trento

How can technology design provide a contribution to the unmaking and remaking of Europe through the promotion of counter cultures and alternative economic models? How can the collaborative design of new technology unmake neoliberal Europe? What can be the role of social research in that?

We would like to attend these questions by discussing the sociotechnical implications of an interdisciplinary European action research project, ‘PIE News’, aimed at designing and implementing a digital platform, The platform will allow people and social groups that are at risk of poverty or social exclusion to be informed and to inform through storytelling about available welfare measures and grassroots initiatives, and to find support in networking activities able to bring value to their life. The overarching ambition is fostering the emergence of the Commonfare, a form of welfare based on grassroots initiatives and equitable democracy, promoting social solidarity.

Our presentation focuses on the role of sociology in the interdisciplinary work that characterizes the project design approach, that is public design, a sociologically-inspired effort to create a technological infrastructure as a site of political potential, thereby openly challenging the extractive models of contemporary digital platforms. In particular, we will show how, in the considered case, social theory acts as a way to identify relevant sociological and societal problems, and how social research methods can support people to express desires, to share knowledge and counter-narratives, and to co-construct opportunities for change.

The Dilemma of Intimacy and Surveillance Practices

Tuğçe Zeynep Abalı Akgül

Adnan Menderes University, Turkey

Throughout the 20th century, we witnessed so many technological developments and the most important ones were the invention of computer and the Internet. which affected societies in many ways. As is seen in Turkey, states adopt these technologies to their governance practices for the last two decades.

We can see e-government applications of states related to the progress of information technology. When the available literature is examined it can be seen that many studies regarding e-government applications have been carried out. The current literature refers e-government as a way of transparent, quick, easy, equal state service as well as a tool of strict governance, surveillance, violent intimacy and violent personal liberties despite secrecy law. Turkey started e-government project in 2004. From this date forward e-government applications have been carried out for all the institutions of state and some private sectors. One of the institutions is public health service.

Considerable number of health data collected via Family Health-Care Information System. Accordingly this research, examines Family Health-Care System, which is highly related to intimacy and personal liberty of individuals. It is also aims to understand the surveillance behind it and to know how family practitioners have been forced to take information from their consultants and how health records serve for the big data. This study will be the only one concerning the Family Health-Care Information System with a sociological point of view. It will be a qualitative research including the views of family consultants who work in Aydin/Turkey.

Key Words: Family Health-Care System, Surveillance, E-Government, and Intimacy

Virtual Bodies and Sport Activities: The case of the Avatars in Second Life Fitness Club

Nikolaos Patsantaras, Irene Kamberidou

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece

Virtual environments (VE) are virtual social spaces that provide powerful means for creating, activating and modifying virtual bodies—Avatars—without dependencies on biological factors,formal rules and explicit conventions. VE offer unlimited possibilities to create the desired body and express personal bodily preference in virtual sport spaces without restrictions regarding established roles and behavioural expectations. Such a VE is Second Life (SL) in which the user is represented by an Avatar. This study focuses on a virtual sport space: the Fitness Club of Second Life. It examines the rules and regulations of this virtual space along with the role of 26 Avatars as bodily representations, including their bodily behaviours-exercises-practices in the SL Fitness Club. The data for this study was selected through systematic observation of 26 Avatars (apx. 180 hours) during March, April and May 2015, followed by detailed descriptions of single phenomena. Regarding the structure of space and bodily behavior, the results indicate less differences between sport virtual spaces and sport physical spaces, the opposite of what we had originally assumed. According to the results, the Avatar Fitness Club appears to be a highly individualistic and narcissistic environment. Moreover, every user can perform his/her bodily activities in a rather liberating way, occasionally surpassing biological limitations. When the Avatars exercise they imitate the movements of the physical sport world, namely they mimic the physical body. Further studies are needed to show the influence of an Avatar’s performance-bodily exercises on the real user, the individual behind the computer screen. KEYWORDS: Avatars, Fitness Club, Second Life, bodily exercises

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