From Community to Text and Back; Some Text-Based Methods for Analyzing Fleeting Objects of Study
Date: 19 February 2014, 10.00-12.00h
Location: Ravelijn, RA 1247
Speaker: Annalisa Pelizza (STePS – Marie Curie Researcher)
The lecture will present a case study where the adoption of epistemological assumptions and data analysis techniques borrowed both from semiotics and Actor Network Theory have enabled the researcher to transcend the limits that characterize traditional studies on online communities underpinned by a “sociology of the social” approach. Today, the very concept of “online community” seems to be at stake, to the point that it is not clear whether there exist online ties that are specific enough to be called “communitarian”. In order to analyse such an opaque and unstable object of study, innovative methods specifically developed to study fuzzy objects have to be devised and some epistemological questions have to be addressed. Approaches like semiotics and ANT turn out to be useful exactly because they use texts as “handles” to grasp heterogeneous, transient, objects of study.
The lecture discusses in details a “funnel-like” method of analysis in a research field that has too often forgone the critique of epistemological assumptions inherited from other disciplines.