Interpretivist Methods in the Digital Age: Methodology and Epistemology in the Social Sciences

Interpretivist Methods in the Digital Age: Methodology and Epistemology in the Social Sciences

Wed, 05 Feb 2020 - Wed, 05 Feb 2020

Canberra, Australia

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A workshop in collaboration with the School of Sociology and the School of Politics and International Relations, and the Interpretation, Method, Critique Research Cluster, The Australian National University.

This workshop aims to explore the intersection between interpretivist/critical methods and the rise of digital information and communication technologies. On the one hand, communication technologies have radically changed the world. They had a profound impact on the types of data available and the way that research is conducted, including the availability of ‘big data’, quantitative text analysis and Network Analysis, while questioning the validity of traditional qualitative methods on these “new” social spaces.

On the other hand, profound epistemological debates have shaken the social sciences in the last decades: we observed both a rejection and radicalization of positivism, a rejection of method altogether in favour of an anarchist theory of knowledge, calls for the decolonisation of disciplines and knowledges, feminist perspectives and the development of a range of social theories that draw attention to the intersection of knowledge and power. These debates provoked various disciplinary reactions, such as reinforcing the divide between qualitative and quantitative sociologies,
a narrative turn in anthropology, a linguistic turn in history and the humanities, as well as a social turn in linguistics and the consolidation of Interpretivism as a specific methodological approach in political science and international relations.

The volume of activity in this area nevertheless has not sufficiently addressed the implications of communication technologies on methods, their potentiality from a critical, interpretive and/ or ethnographic perspective, in various disciplines. This workshop will tackle this question by bringing Christine Hine to act as a catalyst for discussion.

We invite contributions from any field in the social sciences that engage these issues methodologically, theoretically or epistemologically. We encourage submissions which engage with Information Communications Technology in any aspect of research design, data collection, and analysis.

Keynote Speaker
Prof Christine Hine,
University of Surrey
Author of (2006) Virtual Ethnography. Sage.

Due by 31 December 2019 Workshop participation is capped at 30 people.
Please send 250 word (maximum) abstract and a short bio to: