The members of CRC 1187 “Media of Cooperation” publish their research results in the widest possible range of publication venues suitable for their respective researches and disciplines. You will find a chronological list of CRC-related publications by all members under the point “All Publications”.
Beyond that, the CRC has various publication formats of its own in which CRC members as well as other researchers publish. These include the book series Medien der Kooperation (Springer Verlag) and Beiträge zur Praxeologie (Metzler Verlag), the open-access magazine Media in Action. An Interdisciplinary Journal on Cooperative Media, and the Internet blog series Debating Anthropology (in cooperation with the Global South Studies Center an der University of Cologne, the Institute for Ethnology and Cultural Studies (IFEK) at the University of Bremen, and the Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften).
You will find detailed information on the contents of the publications in the following:.
The dynamics of contemporary media have created a fast-paced field, in which academic studies are often challenged, both methodologically and theoretically, to keep pace with current developments in media, technology and society. In our view, the question of cooperation is a crucial issue surrounding these dynamics. Digital networked media in particular can be viewed as cooperative platforms, enabling people to work together, share experiences and information about their lives, and interact with each other. This is, however, not a new phenomenon: the media have always been vital for connecting individuals, groups or whole societies. Likewise, cooperation is a fundamental feature of all human endeavours.
The journal Media in Action aims to explore how to connect the two observations that (1) contemporary digital media are prima facie media of cooperation and (2) media and cooperation have been tightly enmeshed long before the digital age. This question lies at the core of this interdisciplinary journal on cooperative media and it unites the scholars in the Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) 1187 Media of Cooperation at the University of Siegen.
No 10 (2019) Mark Priestley & Thomas Haigh: Colossus: The Missing Manual
There has until now been no comprehensive, convenient, and reliable description of the actual capabilities of the Colossus codebreaking machines used at Bletchley Park during World War II, the way they were used, and the jobs they were applied to. This gap in the literature has led to a lack of understanding of the machines’ functionality and hence to exaggerated claims about their capabilities. In this report we remove the Colossi as far as possible from their cryptanalytical context and consider them simply as computational devices. We give an architectural description of the whole family of related machines, including the initial model known as “Heath Robinson”, and a functional description of the major capabilities of the second and final Colossus design. We include detailed examples of how the machines would have been set up to perform a range of typical tasks, and conclude with a discussion of their versatility, examining in particular the question of how useful they would have been once the war had ended. We present several examples of actual Colossus configurations and the historical output they produced, illustrating the cooperation between figures typed automatically by Colossus and text and annotations added by the human operator.
No 9 (2019) Tristan Thielmann: Sensormedien: Eine medien- und praxistheoretische Annäherung
Da gegenwärtig immer mehr Sensoren in Medien, Gebrauchsgegenständen und Infrastrukturen verbaut und diese so zu mobilen „Smart Devices“ transformiert werden, entstehen neue sozio-technische Bedingungen der Datenerfassung und -verarbeitung, denen nicht mit etablierten Konzepten zur Informations- und Wissensgesellschaft begegnet werden kann. Sie zeichnen sich durch eine entgrenzte Datenerfassung aus, da wir mit Hilfe von Sensoren eine unaufhörliche Verbindung zur Umwelt eingehen. Das Konzept der Sensormedien erlaubt es daher, den Fokus darauf zu richten, was das Beständige medialer Environments ist und was unsere „digitale Gesellschaft“ zusammenhält. Die Grundidee des vorliegenden Working Papers ist, dass Sensormedien einen epistemischen Shift von der Informations- zur Sensorgesellschaft einleiten und nur in der wechselseitigen Verrechnung und Re-Sensibilisierung von Daten, Umwelten und Körpern zu verstehen sind. Sensormedien sind zudem prädestiniert für eine praxistheoretische Auseinandersetzung, da die mediale Erfassung und Darstellung der Körper-Umwelt-Beziehung durch neue Sensortechnologien ein Diversitätsniveau erreicht, welches der Komplexität praxeologischer Beschreibung besser gerecht wird. Umgekehrt lassen sich die kulturellen und gesellschaftlichen Auswirkungen der Sensormedien nur auf Grundlage methodologischer Innovationen wirklich adäquat beschreiben.
No 8 (2019) Silvia Gherardi: Practice as a collective and knowledgeable doing
This paper explores the relationship between knowledge and practice, knowledgeable practices, knowing in practice and knowledge as a situated activity. It traces a tradition of sociological thought in practice theories that derives from studies of scientific knowledge and that challenges the conventional understanding of the ‘social’ as human-centred. The understanding of practice is grounded in an actor-network approach and in feminist Science and Technology Studies. In fact, the precursors of the empirical study of knowing in situ were the so-called laboratory studies, and section 1 presents their contributions to the study of knowledge practices. Later, section 2 proposes a posthumanist practice theory that joins other post-epistemologies in the project of de-centring the human subject as the main source of action and moving from a formulation of practice theory as ‘humans and their practices’ to a vision of practice as the entanglement of humans, materialities, discourses, knowledges and any other relevant element in the situated activities. The aim of the paper is to interpret practice as an empirical phenomenon; therefore, sections 3, 4 and 5 illustrate the core assumptions: i) the sensory and elusive knowledges embedded in knowing in practice; ii) realities as enacted in practices; and iii) interdependent practices as woven in a texture of practices.
No 7 (2019) Luc Boltanski: Reality and its twin:
The thematic of conspiracy in political metaphysics
This paper will focus on the thematics of mystery, conspiracy and inquiry, a subject area explored in one of my more recent books, where I sought to un- derstand the prominent place these thematics have occupied in the representation of reality since around the turn of the 20th century. It has also long been my aim to analyse the role that these thematics may have played in the formation of political metaphys- ics. Although not necessarily one of the canonical forms of political philosophy, political metaphysics left its mark on the last century and, in all probability, continues to haunt the present one. It can be seen as a kind of mythology that is equipped with a for- midable practical e ectiveness, which gives it the power to shape the contours of reality. The thematics of mystery, conspiracy and inquiry have constantly ipped back and forth between the representation of reality in literature, particularly in so-called ‘popular’ literature, and the most disturbing and sometimes most dramatic aspects of reality itself.
No 6 (2019) Arjun Appadurai: Mediants and the Making of Narrative Assemblages
In this lecture, I will highlight the ways in which the current world of nancial markets, mechanisms, and risk-taking is saturated with linguistic and literary forms. These include the promissory language of derivatives, the public pronouncements of central bankers, and the internal narratives of financial analysts. Finance today has a deep literary infrastructure that needs to be recognized and demystized. When we think about finance, our main association is with an ocean of numbers: stock prices, interest rates, currency exchange values, pro t-earnings ratios, mortgage costs, credit ratings, and many other elements in the nancial world are numerically expressed. We are also led to believe that nancial managers and entrepreneurs are mathematics whizzes and that their work is inscrutable to the rest of us because it is too numerically complex for us. Yet, nance itself is deeply saturated with narrative and linguistic forms to which numbers are entirely subordinate or marginal. What are the forms and functions of the literature of global nance? I will use this question to combine my interest in derivative nance with my interest in mediants and mediation, on both of which I have published some work.
No 5 (2018) Kjeld Schmidt, Ina Wagner: Writ Large: On the logics of the spatial ordering of coordinate artefacts in cooperative work
Enter a modern workplace, look around and look carefully, and you will notice a profusion of inscriptions of the most modest and unassuming kind. We are not here primarily referring to the mountains of text produced and perused as part of everyday work (such as letters, emails, reports, contracts), which naturally typically are the center of practitioners’ attention, but to an assortment of inconspicuous and mundane artifacts, such as fault report forms, folders, binder labels, part routing schemes, kanban cards, identification codes, that have been specially designed to facilitate the coordination and integration of cooperative activities. We call this vast and heterogeneous family of specialized artifacts ‘coordinative artifacts’. Though unremarkable, such artifacts play an essential role in enabling workers in modern work settings to get the work done in a reasonably orderly fashion. They provide a manifold latticework of signs by means of which distributed cooperative work activities are coordinated and integrated. Based on a series of ethnographic and similar studies of cooperative work in different domains of work (manufacturing, software engineering, architectural design, oncology treatment, ICD pacemaker treatment), the paper will attempt to show that we can begin to identify and describe the logics of the practices of designing and using such coordinative artifacts.
No 4 (2018) Michael Dieter, Carolin Gerlitz, Anne Helmond, Nathaniel Tkacz, Fernando van der Vlist, Esther Weltevrede: Store, interface, package, connection: Methods and propositions for multi-situated app studies
This paper discusses methodological approaches to app studies, focussing on their embeddedness and situatedness within multiple infrastructural settings. Our approach arises by paying close attention to the multivalent affordances of apps as software packages, particularly their capacity to enter into diverse groupings and relations depending on different infrastructural situations. The changing situations they evoke and participate in, accordingly, makes apps visible and accountable in a variety of unique ways. Engaging with and even staging these situations, therefore, allows for political-economic, social and cultural dynamics associated with apps and their infrastructures can be investigated through a style of research we describe as multi-situated app studies. The piece offers an overview of four different entry points of enquiry that are exemplary of this overarching framework, focussing on app stores, app interfaces, app packages and app connections. We conclude with nine propositions that develop out of these studies as prompts for further research.
No 3 (2018) Thomas Haigh: Finding a Story for the History of Computing
Thomas Haigh is working with Paul Ceruzzi of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., on an expanded and completely reorganized version of Ceruzzi’s classic monograph A History of Modern Computing. Haigh discusses the challenges involved in producing a one volume history of a uniquely flexible technology. Since the first edition of the book was published twenty years ago our sense of what the computer is for has shifted utterly, to encompass media consumption, personal communication, and shopping as well as the traditional activities of business administration and scientific number crunching. To reflect this, Ceruzzi and Haigh are adopting a new structure, in which each chapter of the book tells the story of how “the computer” becomes something different through its interaction with a particular set of users and applications. Haigh connects this structure to the work of historian Michael S. Mahoney, and his discussion of the “Histories of Computing(s).” He ponders the particular difficulty of avoiding a simplistic narrative of historical progress, often called a “whig history,” in summarizing the evolution of a technology whose spectacular technical improvement has come to define our idea of modernity. Haigh also discusses Ceruzzi’s text in relation to other comprehensive histories of computing, the production process of the new edition, and some of the editorial choices involved in a project of this kind.
No 2 (2017) Sebastian Gießmann: Drawing the Social: Jacob Levy Moreno, Sociometry, and the Rise of Network Diagrammatics
The following article discusses the combination of graphical methods and network thought in early sociology. It combines a case study of Jacob Levy Moreno’s sociometric work and diagrammatic practice with media-theoretical thoughts about the characteristics of network diagrams. These are understood as inscriptions that perform both an act of drawing and writing at the same time. Moreno’s mappings, as well as other early visual techniques of social research, are understood along Michel Serres’ understanding of the network diagram as a topological narration. Seen from the vantage point of a history of knowledge, Moreno’s sociometric and performative practices can not only be understood as a contribution to social network thought, but as actual research on the cooperative character of human interaction.
No 1 (2017) Erhard Schüttpelz: Hunter into Prey: Trying to Make Sense of the »Media Revolution« at Göbekli Tepe
The essay tries to make sense of the iconography and monumentalism of Göbekli Tepe by way of a comparison with recent ›hunting ideologies‹ in forager situations of abundance or ›super-abundance‹. The article refers to two North American situations of super-abundance (North-West Coast societies based on seasonal aquafaunal abundance; and the seasonal congregations of large-scale Bison hunting groups on the Plains) to demonstrate how foragers coping with a situation of seasonal super-abundance are still able to ritually perform the reversibility of prey and predator inherent in hunting ideologies. The radical iconography of predators at Göbekli Tepe may likewise point to the ritual function of turning ›hunter into prey‹, and the monumentalism of Göbekli Tepe may be interpreted as a ritual setting celebrating the unity of a hunting congregation quite foreign to – and even deliberately pitted against – later regional developments.
The boasblogs are a series of topic-related blogs that take up current topics relating to the anthropological sciences, discuss them in their controversy through a wide circle of contributors, and at the same time ask about the public role and social relevance of anthropological knowledge.
All boasblogs, in the sense of a public anthropology, aims to make scientific findings accessible to a broader public in order to make a critical-constructive contribution to current social debates and to help shape social relations at various political, social and everyday levels.
About the blogs
So far, four blogs have been released, each of which was supervised by different editorial boards.
The first – “Cultural Relativism and Enlightenment” – was published in December 2016 as a reaction to an article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, in which social and cultural anthropology was accused of justifying inhuman practices and of having a lack of distance from its subject matter. The contributions are mainly in German.
Editorial Board: Christoph Antweiler (Bonn), Ehler Voss (Siegen), Martin Zillinger (Köln)
This blog was superseded in October 2017 by a second blog, which is still running today. Under the title “How to move on with Humboldt’s legacy? Rethinking ethnographic collections“ – Wie weiter mit Humboldts Erbe? Ethnographische Sammlungen neu denken” it deals with the opposite accusation of colonialism and, on the occasion of current discussions about the concept and design of the Humboldt Forum in Berlin, also asks about innovative and contemporary approaches to ethnographic collections. The blog is bilingual in German and English.
Editorial Board: Anna Brus (Universität Siegen), Larissa Förster (Berlin), Michi Knecht (Bremen), Verena Rodatus (Berlin), Ehler Voss (Siegen) & Martin Zillinger (Köln)
The third blog was prompted by the controversy surrounding the recent renaming of the “German Ethnological Society / Deutsche Gesellschaft für Völkerkunde (DGV) ” to “Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie (DGSKA) (the English title of this association had since long been „German Anthropological Association“). Under the title “What’s in a name”, the blog asked what this renaming stands for, i.e. what it conveys about the history, present and future of this discipline in German speaking countries. The contributions are mainly in German. The blog ran from April to August 2018.
Editorial Board: Christoph Antweiler (Bonn), Michi Knecht (Bremen), Ehler Voss (Siegen/Mainz), Martin Zillinger (Köln)
A fourth blog ran from October 2018 to February 2019 concerning the question “Why Anthropology? Current Student Views”. The editorial work was done by a group of anthropology students at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, who designed the blog as part of a seminar offered by Ehler Voss on the topic of “Publishing in Online Media” and were responsible for supervising it. The contributions are mainly in German.
Editorial Board: Clarissa Bach, Alexandra Ditscher, Charlotte Kaiser, Christopher Klapperich, Judith König & Matthias Merbitz-Zahradnik (alle Mainz)
In August 2019 a new blog with the title “The end of negotiations!?” will be launched. The blog aims to critically discuss current processes in which the potentially unlimited dynamics of social negotiations are brought to an end by acts of closure or opened to new negotiations after a temporary closure. The blog prepares for the conference of the same name of the German Society for Cultural and Social Anthropology, which will take place in Constance at the end of September.
Editorial Board: Thomas Kirsch (Konstanz), Michi Knecht (Bremen), Ehler Voss (Siegen)
The blog series is jointly published by the Collaborative Research Center (CRC) Media of Cooperation at the University of Siegen, the Global South Studies Center at Cologne University, the Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften, and the Department of Anthropology and Cultural Research (IFEK) at the University of Bremen.
Editors: Christoph Antweiler (Bonn), Michi Knecht (Bremen), Ehler Voss (Siegen/Mainz), Martin Zillinger (Cologne)