Social media, the Web of Issues and AI proceed to remodel our lives in methods each seen and unseen, however simply what are we buying and selling within the identify of effectivity and comfort? Within the newest situation of Mittelweg 36, social researchers deal with ‘digital practices’, exploring the extent to which on-line know-how has usurped human company and what we are able to do to flee the mechanisms of digital bondage.
From Kodak to curated self
Whether or not at work or play, our devices have reworked how we predict and work together with ourselves and one another. The selfie is the prime instance. In ‘Me, Myself and I’, Moritz Plewa provides a family tree of photographic practices all through late trendy tradition. ‘The distinction between analogue and digital images can’t be decided by technological variations alone,’ he argues, however ‘should be sought within the altering of photographic practices.’
From early Kodak cameras, which enabled a ‘tradition of expertise’, to the more moderen phenomena of the ‘curated self’, the demarcation between performativity and self-perception has change into more and more blurred. New theoretical approaches are wanted to make sense of the ‘recording, post-producing, … viewing, evaluating and commenting digital self.’
Gender and digitization
While know-how impacts us all, it does so in numerous and sometimes unequal methods. By bringing home life and work into radical reduction, COVID-19 has laid naked the facade of a piece–life steadiness, particularly for girls.
In her article on ‘digital practices between gainful employment and care work’, Tanja Carstensen addresses the confluence of paid and unpaid work, gender and digitization. The latter, she argues, must be understood as a course of anchored in our on a regular basis lives and actions. Carstensen writes in regards to the many challenges that ladies face as they juggle their skilled and private lives. Whereas digital know-how could make life simpler, it will possibly additionally ‘intensify, dynamize and radicalize the quite a few calls for that household and work life place on girls’.
Anybody involved in regards to the broader implications of the digital age and the way in which the on a regular basis is constructed in and thru media will discover Nick Couldry’s and Andreas Hepp’s article on ‘datafication’ compelling (if worrisome) studying. Constructing on the work of their 2017 ebook The Mediated Development of Actuality, they describe how, by compiling summary classes in more and more summary methods, massive knowledge complexes are more and more reshaping on a regular basis life.
Along with mapping the advanced constellations of right now’s digital interdependencies, Couldry and Hepp are involved with questioning and difficult the dominance of ‘datafication’ (the transformation of features of our lives into knowledge). But, as they level out, ‘massive knowledge shouldn’t be an impartial actuality outdoors of the social world, however one thing that’s deeply interwoven with on a regular basis worlds of expertise.’ If all of it sounds a bit summary, then one want solely consider the ability and efficacy of algorithms in entrapping individuals inside cultural or ideological bubbles that reinforce, slightly than problem, their pursuits, views or political beliefs.
This text is a part of the 4/2021 Eurozine evaluation. Click on right here to subscribe to our weekly publication to get updates on evaluations and our newest publishing.