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2017 #SMSociety Theme: Social Media for Social Good or Evil

Our online behaviour is far from virtual–it extends our offline lives. Much social media research has identified the positive opportunities of using social media; for example, how people use social media to form support groups online, participate in political uprising, raise money for charities, extend teaching and learning outside the classroom, etc. However, mirroring offline experiences, we have also seen social media being used to spread propaganda and misinformation, recruit terrorists, live stream criminal activities, reinforce echo chambers by politicians, and perpetuate hate and oppression (such as racist, sexist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic behaviour).

Saturday, July 29 • 11:01 - 12:30
The ‘Paradigm Clash’ In Digital Labor Literature: Reconciling Critical Theory And Interpretive Approach To Empirical Research [WIP]

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Authors: Olga Rodak and Karolina Mikołajewska-Zając

Abstract: ‘Digital labor’ became an umbrella term for the stream of research dealing with ‘users’ participation in the digital culture.’ It critically frames social media participation within a wider political economy of the Internet, where it is captured and translated into value for platform providers and powerful organizations. Though accurately adding critical interpretation to the discussion on this phenomenon, ‘digital labor’ theory does not provide sufficient methodological guidelines for social research. This remark applies especially to the problem of inclusion of so called ‘micro-perspective’ in theory-development, that is, social actors’ experience and perception. After performing the pilot literature study, we found that this challenge is recognized by the majority of scholars conducting empirical research in the spirit of ‘digital labor,’ however, there is little consent of how it could be solved. We argue that this problem may be reframed as an intra-disciplinary ‘paradigm clash’ – the incommensurability of the critical and the interpretive tradition in social science. We collected insights from research papers and call for conceptualizations that will inform empirical researcher of how to involve ‘micro-perspective’ while building the ‘digital labor’ theory.

Saturday July 29, 2017 11:01 - 12:30
TRS 1-075 - 7th Flr Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University 55 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M5G 2C9

Attendees (7)