Digital Practices: Situating People, Things and Data

International Conference of the DFG Research Training Group „Locating Media“ in collaboration with the DFG Research Center „Media of Cooperation“

University of Siegen, Artur-Woll-Haus

June 7–9, 2016

People, things, and data are ever more on the move. This movement takes particular forms that can be situated. Especially practice-based approaches have been pivotal in describing how people, things and data are interrelated in what are often called digital practices. These take different forms depending on who connects with whom, where, and in which ways.
But what are digital practices? Despite the frequent use of the concept, it is in many cases not clear what makes practices digital, or what the specificity of digital practices is. Therefore, the conference aims at providing a forum to discuss digital practices from different vantage points, ranging from considering human-to-human communication via digital means to automated machine-to-machine systems, such as developed under the heading of „Internet of Things.“
The attempts to situate digital practices have led to a wide array of innovative research designs, in which digital devices are used as part of research methods. These range from rather classic data collection to digital methods, in which particular algorithms are created in order to study how digital devices and data behave. In order to situate people, things, and data, particularly qualitative, ethnographic studies have again been helpful for providing a broader context for the use of these devices. Digital practices take manifold forms, and are meaningful in very different ways depending on who is part of them where, and in which ways.
We invite theoretical and/or empirical contributions discussing digital practices from either perspective: as phenomena to be studied, or as part of innovative research designs.


18:00 h
Opening Keynote of the Collaborative Research Center „Media of Cooperation“
Geoffrey Bowker: Being Human: The Analog and the Digital of it All


10:00 – 10:30 h
Judith Ackermann, Asko Lehmuskallio and Tristan Thielmann

10:30 – 12:00 h
Social Practices
Michael Lynch: Taming “the Dogs of Tacit Knowledge”? Instructed Actions and Instructional Technologies
Leopoldina Fortunati: Living with Social Robots

– Lunch

14:00 – 15:30 h
Data Practices
Susanna Paasonen: Fascinating Distractions in Networked Media
Jonathan Gray and Liliana Bounegru: Visualisation Practices: Accounting for Datasets and Data Infrastructures

– Coffee Break –

16:00 – 17:30 h
Historical Practices
Thomas Haigh: We Have Never Been Digital
Caroline Bassett: Human Practices/Digital Practices: Joseph Weizenbaum and the Rationality-Logicality Equation

– Coffee Break –

18:00 – 19:30 h
Panel Discussion (Chair: Cornelius Schubert)
Ecologies and Practices: Perspectives on How to Study Humans and Data

with Geoffrey Bowker, Carolin Gerlitz, Tim Ingold, Michael Lynch and Erhard Schüttpelz


09:30 – 11:00 h
Spatial Practices
Shireen Walton: Moving Digital Ethnography in and out of Place
Gillian Rose: The Spatialities of Digital Practice: Flow, Vertigo, Frame

– Coffee Break –

11:30 h
Closing Keynote
Tim Ingold: Life Off Screen

13:00 h

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