A01 - Digital Network Technologies between Specialization and Generalization
„The project pursues a historical praxeology of digitally networked media that foregrounds specific technoeconomic trajectories since 1989. We situate co-operative data practices, business models and infrastructures of capturing, monitoring and environing within advertising and sensor networks.“
In its third term, the media-historical subproject reconstructs the development of new web and internet technologies since 1989. On the one hand, its case studies are devoted to the computerization of physical environments through specialized wireless technologies, in particular Bluetooth. On the other, they trace the universalization of individualized web-based advertising in the transition from “Web” to “Web 2.0.” Both subject areas – advertising and sensor networks – are conceived in terms of the practices, business models, and infrastructures of capturing, monitoring, and environing that are generated within them. To this end, the project follows up on the work of computer scientist Philip E. Agre in media theory and data criticism, while at the same time shedding new light on his hitherto undervalued work. By turning to Agre’s work, the project’s final term pursues a political economy of digitally networked media that explains the reciprocal fabrication of data-intensive media between practices of capturing, monitoring, and environing. The historiographical work of this project focuses on the universalizations by which the perpetual capturing of personal data has become the normalized basis of Internet-based economies.
In methodological terms, the project is situated between historical praxeology, science and technology studies (STS), and the history of computing and networking. It develops new digital historiographic methods that deal with materials of a “born-digital cultural heritage” that shed a critical light on case studies on both advertising networks and sensor networks. In its third term, the project aims to synthesize the historical intersection of economy and digitally networked media. At the same time, it historically contextualizes the way digital cultures deal with everyday forms of surveillance that, in an interplay between monitoring and capturing, make a lasting mark on socio-technical media environments in the 21st century.
- How has web monitoring become the basis of pervasive techno-economic capturing?
- How are media environments constituted on the basis of data practices and sensing?
- How did digital “surveillance capitalism” historically link online and offline capturing (since 1989)?
Historical Praxeology following the practice turn approach in media studies
- Distant and close-reading of born-digital heritage and digital native material
- Semi-structured interviews
- Inventive historiographic practices and methodologies
Environing: Bluetooth Practices
- Analyses the universalization of specific digital networking technologies and objects at the intersection of location- and situation-based media environments.
Monitoring: Advertising Networks and the Web
- Reconstructs how continuous capturing and monitoring have become the standard business model of the public internet.
Capturing: Rethinking (with) Philip E. Agre
- Investigates the media theoretical grounding of environing, monitoring and capturing, and the unfolding of a political economy under digital corporate conditions.
Infrastructural Inversion in Media History
- Lays out how digital network technologies become universalized as media environments, and
- which economic, organizational, and technological trajectories underpin the data economies of capitalism.
➔ Find the project archive 2020–2023 here
ZfM 29 „Test“
This issue of the Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft asks how media and tests constitute each other. Particular attention is paid to the politics of testing. We propose to understand tests as open situations in which socio-technical evaluations are made and decisions are taken using partly established standards and partly standards that only become established during testing. For a media cultural studies concept of the test, the following applies: in the micro-decisions of distributed and distributive testing, the social itself is put to the test. The articles collected in this issue make this clear: No test without media - no medium without a test.
Gießmann, Sebastian; Gerlitz, Carolin (Eds.). 2023. “Test: Einleitung in den Schwerpunkt”. In: Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft. Jg. 15, Heft 29 (2/2023): 10–19. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25969/mediarep/20051.