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Digital methods can be a very useful addition to the classic repertoire of methods employed by social scientists, but they come with several challenges. Training for non-programmers is limited and tools developed to help them can break down, be useful only for specific tasks and sources, and not adaptable enough for the iteration of research questions that characterizes many social science projects. While tools and corpora for social media studies abound, this availability can sometimes skew research questions to adapt to it, rather than being the drivers of exploration. 


In this workshop, we propose to discuss the development of digital methods to address research questions, concepts and empirical sites.  Research questions can start offline or online and can be furthered with creative digital approaches. The workshop proposes to understand how we can reconfigure digital methods beyond social media. Thus, our aim is not to repurpose methods used by data-extractive platforms and their affordances but to assemble digital and non-digital elements and sites of inquiry to answer different research questions. 

About the workshop

16 February 2024, King’s College London

Workshop co-organised by Claudia Aradau and Elisa Oreglia

The workshop is supported by the ERC projects DIGISILK and SECURITY FLOWS.




9.00-9.30 Arrival and Coffee

9.30-11.00 Session 1 | Seeing the invisible

Talks by Esther Weltevrede, University of Amsterdam; Jennifer Pybus, York University, Canada; Elisa Oreglia, King’s College London; Lianrui Jia, Sheffield University

Rapporteurs: Vanessa Ugolini, Vrije Universiteit Brussels and Kristian Sick Svendsen, University of Copenhagen


11.00-11.15 Break


11.15-12.30 Session 2 | Tracing dispersed practices

Talks by Francesco Ragazzi and Ruben van de Ven, Leiden University; Signe Sophus Lai, University of Copenhagen; Jonathan Gray, King’s College London; Claudia Aradau, King’s College London

Rapporteurs: Megan Hadasa Leal Causton, Vrije Universiteit Brussels and Max van Tongeren, University of Amsterdam


12.30-14.00 Lunch


14.00-15.30 Hands-on session | Opening up the black box of digital methods: experiments, challenges and failures

James Burroughs, King’s College London and Max van Tongeren, University of Amsterdam

Claudia Aradau, King’s College London and Thais Lobo, King’s College London

Francesco Ragazzi, Leiden University and Ruben van de Ven, Leiden University


15.30-16.00 Break and refreshments


16.00-17.30 Roundtable: Future explorations

Chair: Tobias Blanke, University of Amsterdam

Introductions by rapporteurs and collective discussion

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