Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN20_10a: Digital and Analogue Discourses
Friday, 23/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Tea Torbenfeldt Bengtsson, VIVE - The Danish Center for Social Science Research
Location: UP.3.209
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Third Floor Oxford Road

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Personal Testimonies from the Times of Boundaries Melting and Crystallising

Zuzana Kusá, Dominika Orišková

Institute for Sociology Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovak Republic

The goal of our contribution is to display the value of processual approach to boundary breaking and making in everyday language for the study of living in unsettled political situation. The base of our study are 200 letters written by readers of national dailies in February 1990 in response to the call of the Slovak Sociological Association to share their personal experiences of the days of “Velvet Revolution”(the breakdown of the Communist regime in former Czechoslovakia) in their workplaces, neighbourhoods and families. The letters are believed to present “authentic imprints” of at that time experienced dilemmas, hopes and worries associated with erosion of settled classifications and hierarchies and organisational and jurisdictional boundaries as well as descriptions of (especially at workplaces) negotiations and crystallisations of new social and moral boundaries.

Our study of the procedures of boundaries/categories/identities’ melting and crystallising chiefly focuses on the rhetorical figures by which letter writers brought (moral) order and sense into experienced events and negotiated new taxonomies that would make their moral inclusion possible if their former regime identities were stigmatised.

Though we both employ dramaturgical sociology perspective of Erving Goffman and some ethnomethodological inspirations, our age difference is so high that dissimilar sensitivity to language tropes and arguments of the foregone period could be expected. That is why we design our study as quasi experiment. In its first stage we do discursive analysis of letters independently. Its second stage is meant as space for discussion of our coding and interpretation and for negotiating consensual interpretations of processes under study. The separation of stages might help make the effect of differing generational experiences on interpretation process more visible.

Work-related Discussions and Online Sociality on a Global Online-forum – Studying (Professional) Knowledge in the Making?

Barbara Fersch

University of Southern Denmark, Denmark

In the proposed paper I want to present methodological reflections on forum discussions as qualitative research material. In order to study work practices and (informal) rules on an online platform for freelance work I have analysed 27 discussion threads including 1427 postings from the lively forum of the platform. What does characterise this kind of qualitative data in the context of specific work practices? Two aspects will especially be considered: 1) the role of sociality /” the social world” of the forum and 2.) role of communicative aspects. I will argue that several characteristic – e.g. the asynchrony of communication, the status of in-between oral and written and the "public intimacy” of the online forum make it especially useful for getting insights into the constitution of meaning. It opens up the opportunity to study these processes even earlier than with other qualitative material (oral, synchronous). In the context of the specific case of forum discussions on working on an online platform this might mean to get an insight on the process of the externalisation of practical experience to (professional) knowledge in an early stage. Thus, I will argue that the analysis of online forum communication can contribute with unique insights to processes of meaning making in general and the work-related / professional knowledge making in particular.

”Completely Ordinary Girl”: Firsthand Narrative from a Swedish Syrian Traveler who joined Islamic State

Henriette Frees Esholdt

Lund University, Sweden

This paper presents a single case study of a young female Swedish so-called Syrian traveler (hereafter called Jasmine), who went to Syria in 2014, after IS’s self-proclamation of the Caliphate. The analysis takes its point of departure in data consisting of: 1) Visual materials of Jasmine and two blogs (consisting of uploads of texts, pictures and a short story) created by Jasmine a couple of years before leaving for Syria, and 2) A Facebook profile (consisting of uploads of texts, pictures and videos) created by Jasmine around the time she went to Syria. The analysis describes how Jasmine went from, in her own words, being a “completely ordinary girl” to propagandizing for radical Islam on social media from Syria. The analysis is complemented with data from interviews with persons in Jasmine’s close social milieu as well as with professionals in the field (such as police officers, social workers etc.). Drawing on Gubrium and Holstein’s methodological concept of ‘analytic bracketing’ (e.g. 1997, 2009), the analysis seeks to outline the complexity concerning why and how young people from the West, more specifically women (as in the case of Jasmine) become involved in violence-promoting Islamist extremism. With this approach the analysis seeks to capture the interplay between Jasmine’s narrative work (how she performs and presents herself) and the "narrative environments" that Jasmine was situated in (what the social context of Jasmine’s narrative work is). The paper is a work in progress.

The Role Of The Generational Gap In Family Practices Toward Social Media

Katya Danielova Bozukova

Royal Holloway University of London, United Kingdom

Children's usage of social media technologies is conceptualised in traditional media and policy as being inherently risky. However, the concept of the generational divide - which sees children as "digital natives" and their parents as "digital migrants" - lacks sufficient empirical backing and overly simplifies the processes that go into family practices around social media technologies.

Using data from family group interviews with children between the ages of 4 and 15, this paper argues that there is insufficient evidence to support the idea of a generational gap between parents and children as far as social media is concerned. While there are differences in how family members perceive risk and trust on social media, and differences in social media usage, there is not sufficient evidence to suggest that this is determined by generation alone. Indeed, what this paper will argue is that individual disposition, family environment, and wider social circle, have far bigger influence on children's usage of social media and their families' practices around social media. This has an impact both on scholarship, and on policy, as the generational gap is a widely espoused assumption.

This paper will report in part on a wider research project undertaken with the support of the Leverhulme Trust, in collaboration with Royal Holloway University of London.