How are learning and digital media connected? And how are digital media shaping practices of learning? Nowadays many aspects of life aren’t imaginable anymore without digital media, including the area of learning. This winter’s lecture series of the Collaborative Research Center (CRC) “Media of Cooperation” focuses on “Learning (in) Digital Media”.
Processes of learning are a locus of organization, stabilization as well as perturbation of societal structures. Digital media transformed the parameters of communal practice and participation leading to re-situate practices of learning into settings that are infrastructurally stabilized, yet locally and socially distributed. This established new communities of practice. Furthermore, conventional notions of learning are being challenged by recent interest in machine learning in the field of artificial intelligence. The changing technologies of cooperation, instruction, and learning are also affecting the conditions of collaboration in social and cultural realms, challenging or reinforcing power asymmetries. It becomes more and more difficult to trace hierarchies of knowledge and modes of political power within techniques and technologies of learning and cooperation. Yet the actual process of learning remains a communal practice, in which results of interaction cannot be fully predetermined.
The CRC’s lecture series aims at examining the cooperative production of “learning” as a media and data practice in its different aspects: from the learning subjects, organizations and data practices involved in learning processes to self-learning systems and artificial intelligence. We invited several scholars from different fields of research to inquire the practices and concepts of cooperative learning and learning in cooperation from various perspectives.
12.10.2021 Rainer Mühlhoff: “Human-Aided Artificial Intelligence: Machinic capture of human labor in contemporary media culture”
19.10.2021 Katharina Rohlfing: “Scaffolding and monitoring: Aspects of learning in the social design of explainable AI systems”
02.11.2021 Inga Gryl, Helena Atteneder: “Towards a maturity-oriented education on the algorithms behind geomedia technologies”
09.11.2021 Petra Missomelius: “’Digital education” and the IT industry”
16.11.2021 Niels Kerssens: “Governed by edtech? Valuing educational autonomy in a platform society”
23.11.2021 Gabriele Gramelsberger: “Collaborating with machines: Researchers Meet ML-Algorithms”
30.11.2021 Florian Jaton: “On ground truths, biases, and morality in machine learning design and application”
14.12.2021 Jen Ross: “Speculative approaches, cultures of surveillance, and digital futures in higher education”
18.01.2022 Caroline Sinders: “Feminist Data Set”
01.02.2022 M. Beatrice Fazi: “Causality and the Future of Deep Learning”
The lecture series takes place as a hybrid event with on-site participation and online access. The zoom link for the lecture will be made available in good time via the SFB’s mailing list. Guests can register with Damaris Lehmann by email. Send an email
The first Mixing Methods Summer School of the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB 1187) “Media of Cooperation” took place online from 26 to 30 July 2021 and focused on “Breaching Digital Media / Respecifying Ethnomethodology”. Situated within the intern graduate school (MGK), the Summer School invited Ph.D candidates from the SFB 1187. Based on the concept of “Research Sprints”, the participants not only explored digital media and data practices in a contrastive and project-oriented way using different methods but also reflected upon the limits and possible combinations of different methodological approaches.
The breaching experiments were accompanied by three keynotes from the fields of digital sociology, media studies, and human-computer interaction. Noortje Marres argued for a situational analytics in her talk about “An interpretative methodology for the study of social life in computational settings”, Anne Rawls spoke about “Revealing Order through Disorder: Garfinkel’s Breaching Tutorials and Studies of Difficulty and Difference” and Kristina Lindström and Åsa Ståhl presented recent work from their project “Un/Making Matters, Practices and Imaginaries”. The SFB’s first Mixing Methods Summer School concluded with a joint presentation of the “Breaching” results.
Led by Loup Cellard, one of two facilitators of the Summer School, and Robin de Mourat, the first group with Daniela van Geenen, Stefan Laser, Fernando van der Vlist, Jason Chao and Danny Lämmerhirt examined the fitness app Strava and its tracking conditions for sports activities such as jogging, swimming and cycling. With the use of breaching experiments, they were able to uncover leaks and limitations of the app while revealing its digital functionality. A second research group, consisting of Tim Hector, Niklas Strüber, Yarden Skop, Marcus Burkhardt, Susanne Förster, and Tatjana Seitz, focused on breaching the chatbot Replika, which revealed a number of linguistic inconsistencies, technical problems, and political incorrectnesses. The third research group by Max Kanderske, Hendrik Bender, Regina Wuzella, Benedikt Merkle and Timo Kaerlein, led by Philippe Sormani, the second faciltator of the Summer School, dealt with questions of ethnomethodology. Their breaching focused on the Google AIY Vision Kit and its image recognition software which was pushed to its limits.
The next Mixing Methods Summer School is scheduled for 2023.
How are application programming interfaces (APIs) tied into the power of and the governance by large digital platforms? Based on empirical and evolutionary analysis, the authors of the new publication “The Technicity of Platform Governance – Structure and Evolution of Facebook’s APIs“ (Working Paper Series No. 20, July 2021) trace the relationality between Facebook’s APIs, platform governance and data strategy. They provide an insight into the technicity of Facebook as one of the largest digital platforms, consisting of a ‘family of apps’, like WhatsApp or Instagram. The exchange of data and services between the platform is facilitated by the use of APIs, which can also be utilized for changes to platform policy or data strategy. The paper emphasizes the significance of the technicity of these platforms for maintaining infrastructural and evolutive power over their ecosystems.
The authors are members of the Collaborative Research Centers “Media of Cooperation” (SFB 1187) and „Transformationen des Populären“ (SFB 1472) which are both locates at Siegen University. Marcus Burkhardt leads the project B08 „Agentic Media: Formations of Semi-Autonomy“ which examines how agentic media are created cooperatively as actors in various fields of practice – chatbots, drones, and the academic development of algorithms – and asks which interactions orders as well as modes of cooperation emerge between human and synthetic actors. Tatjana Seitz and Fernando Van der Vlist are research associates at the projects A01 “Digital Network Technologies between Specialization and Generalization” and A03 „Navigation in Online/Offline Spaces“. Anne Helmond is assistant professor of New Media and Digital Culture at University of Amsterdam and principal investigator at the SFB 1472.
Their paper „The Technicity of Platform Governance – Structure and Evolution of Facebook’s APIs“ is published as part of the Working Paper Series of the SFB 1187, which promotes inter- and transdisciplinary media research and provides an avenue for rapid publication and dissemination of ongoing research located at or associated with the CRC. The purpose of the series is to circulate in‑progress research to the wider research community beyond the CRC. All Working Papers are accessible via the website or can be ordered in print by sending an email to: email@example.com
How does digitization relate to assistance? A mishap sparked a profound study on contemporary redistribution of assistance at Deutsche Bahn.
When sociology professor Jörg Potthast lost his phone and wallet on a train in 2015, he found himself in the stressful situation of not being able to block his credit card. Without a phone of his own he had to rely on the train conducter’s kindness and contact his bank over a borrowed one. To make matters worse the connection was insufficient. This unfortunate event prompted the author to take a closer look at the lost and found services of the Deutsche Bahn.
Noticing a shift towards digitization within the “lost and found” services of the deutsche Bahn, the author explores the effects that come with digital practices. Leaving the train, the publication “Lost and found: transforming assistance at digital Deutsche Bahn” further contemplates the general digital practices of the individual consumer, when seeking assistance.
The publication intends to seek for a politics of pity – which have been largely absent from the current appraisals of digital sociality – in exploring the ambiguous patterns in the practice of assistance.
Jörg Potthast is a principal investigator at the Collaborative Research Center (SFB 1187) „Media of Cooperation“ in Siegen, leading the project A04 – Normal Interruptions of Service. Structure and Change of Public Infrastructures, which explores the sociological aspects of public transport.
His paper is published as part of the Working Paper Series of the SFB 1187 (No. 19, July 2021) which promotes inter- and transdisciplinary media research and provides an avenue for rapid publication and dissemination of ongoing research located at or associated with the CRC. The purpose of the series is to circulate in-progress research to the wider research community beyond the CRC. All Working Papers are accessible via the website or can be ordered in print by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Are there limits to thinking with, and through, practice? Scholars across media studies talk variously of ‘everyday’, ‘situated’, ‘digital’, and ‘media’ practices as well as, increasingly, ‘app’ and ‘data’ practices. But what do we gain from thinking about practice, or through the lens of praxeology? Alternatively, what might we lose from thinking only about practice, or only through praxeology?
The publication «In the Spirit of Addition: Taking a ‘Practice + Approach’ to Studying Media» started as a dialogue between media scholars wrestling with these questions, in which the value of practice and praxeology is explored. The aim of the publication is to discuss how the limits to practice might be, and indeed are being, studied, and potentially redrawn especially by those working with, in, and beyond, media studies.
The publication project was initiated by scholars of the Graduate School «Locating Media». It is published as part of the Working Paper Series edited by the Collaborative Research Centre «Media of Cooperation». The collection attempts to establish novel connections that potentially bring new life to the study of practice, by exploring new concepts, thinkers, energies, methodologies and disciplinary traditions. The articles explore how practices are variously constituted in, and through, contemporary media such as video platforms, collaborative text editors, enterprise software, socialmedia APIs, automotive navigation systems and health data apps.
The publication does not intend to cast doubt on the value of studying practice – long an interest of media scholars based in Siegen. Instead, it discusses how everyday, situated, digital, media, app, and data practices – as identifiable phenomena – are nonetheless modified by other things they meet, from bodily affects that ‘pre-code’ or modulate practices, to broader technical, material and social infrastructures that likewise facilitate or constrain how practices are performed.
As a provocation, the publication offers what might be productively referred to as a ‘practice+ approach’. In doing so, the authors emphasize how practices (as phenomena) and praxeological approaches (as lenses) can be engaged with materially, discursively, and affectively. The contributions discuss how practice+ approaches are enhanced by a supporting cast drawn from aesthetics, political discourses, technical representations or cognitive concepts. Moreover, the discussion draws attention to alternative theories that define practice differently such as queer and feminist studies, computer science or theatre studies.
Christoph Borbach (Locating Media) | media studies
Magdalena Götz (Locating Media) | art, media, and gender studies
Sam Hind (Media of Cooperation, former: Locating Media)| media studies
Danny Lämmerhirt (Media of Cooperation, former: Locating Media) | critical data studies
Hannah Neumann (Locating Media) | theatre & cultural studies
Ana Och (Locating Media) | media linguistics
Sebastian Randerath (University of Bonn, former: University of Siegen) | design and media studies
Tatjana Seitz (Locating Media) | platform studies
The edited collection “In the Spirit of Addition: Taking a ‘Practice + Approach’ to Studying Media”, is published as part of the Working Paper Series of the Collaborative Research Center 1187 „Media of Cooperation“ (No. 18, June 2021). This collection is (guest-) edited by Magdalena Götz, Sam Hind, Danny Lämmerhirt, Hannah Neumann, Anastasia-Patricia Och, Sebastian Randerath, and Tatjana Seitz. For a printed version of this edited collection, please contact: email@example.com
The CRC Working Paper Series promotes inter- and transdisciplinary media research and provides an avenue for rapid publication and dissemination of ongoing research located at or associated with the CRC. The purpose is to circulate in-progress research to the wider research community beyond the CRC. All Working Papers are accessible via the website or can be ordered in print by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are looking for:
In Faculty I – Faculty of Philosophy, Media Studies, the German Research Foundation (DFG) Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) „Media of Cooperation“ is looking for a postdoc at the earliest possible date under the following conditions:
• 100% = 39,83 hours
• Salary category 13 TV-L
• fixed-term period until 31.12.2023
CRC 1187 “Media of Cooperation”:
The CRC is an interdisciplinary research association consisting of 15 projects and more than 60 researchers from the fields of media studies, science and technology studies, anthropology, sociology, German language and literature studies, computer sciences, and medicine, as well as history, education, and engineering. It is receiving funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG) since 2016.
Within the subproject A01 „Digital Network Technologies between Specialization and Generalization“, we jointly investigate histories of digital media since 1989. We aim for a theory of digitality that encompasses practices, infrastructures, and publics.
- Cutting-edge research in media history and theory
- Further qualification with a second book or Habilitation
- Organizing international conferences and publications along with other subprojects of the CRC
- Developing new ideas for grant extension
- Participating in the general program of the CRC (research forum, workshops, conferences)
- Contributing to the core topics of the CRC (infrastructures, publics, praxeology)
- Excellent PhD in Media Studies, Cultural Studies, Science and Technology Studies or History
- Experience in microhistory and openness towards digital methods
- An international and interdisciplinary research profile
- Excellent proficiency in English, further languages are highly welcome
- This position aims to promote the candidate’s scientific qualification (according to the Act of Academic Fixed-Term Contracts; Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz), for which the ongoing media research in Siegen offers a supportive environment (Habilitation)
- Responsibility for a field with great creative potential
- An agile environment that supports engagement with innovative educational work
- The opportunity to make a visible contribution towards modern accounts of leadership, cooperation and diversity culture
- Numerous offers such as flexible working hours, company pension scheme, dual career service, coaching/mentoring and a comprehensive personnel development program
We look forward to receiving your application by 02.03.2021.
Dr. Sebastian Gießmann
0271 / 740 – 2586
The University of Siegen is an equal opportunity employer. The call for applications is explicitly aimed at people of all genders (m/f/d); applications from women are given preference in accordance with the North Rhine-Westphalian Equal Opportunities Act (Landesgleichstellungsgesetz). We also welcome applications from people with different personal, social and cultural backgrounds, people with severe disabilities and people of equal status.
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