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in L'ère post-média. Humanités digitales et cultures numériques Publié en 2012
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Depuis quelques années, les sciences sociales se retrouvent dans une situation tout à fait nouvelle. Relativement jeunes et encore précairement établies, ces sciences étaient loin de se doter des énormes machines à données des sciences naturelles. Contrairement aux physiciens jonglant avec des milliards de particules dans leurs accélérateurs ou aux biologistes cultivant des millions de microbes sous leurs microscopes, les sociologues ne pouvaient suivre que quelques centaines d’êtres humains et étaient condamnés à deviner la forme des phénomènes collectifs par ces aperçus partiels (...).

in Sociológica Publié en 2012
GUIDO Daniele
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ANTA or Actor-‐Network Analyzer is a simple piece of software developed at Sciences Po médialab to offer social researchers a simple text-‐analysis tool attuned with the theoretical tenets of actor-‐network theory. Striving to make actor-‐network theory compatible with modern text-‐analysis, we have learned much about both. In this paper we’ll discuss our adventure in ANT and text-‐analysis while describing the basic functions of ANTA and providing examples of its usage.

In the last few years, a spirit has been haunting our academic and popular culture — the spirit of networks. Throughout social as well as natural sciences, more and more phenomena have come to be conceived as networks. Telecommunication networks, neural networks, social networks, epigenetic networks, ecological and economic networks , the very fabric of our existence seems to be made of lines and dots. More recently, the interest for graphs overflowed from science to popular culture and images of networks started to appear everywhere. They decorate buildings and objects; they are printed on t-shirts and furniture; they colonize the desktop of our computers and the walls of our airports. Networks have become the emblem of modernity, a way to show and tell our world’s complexity. Our growing fascination for networks is not unjustified. Networks are powerful conceptual tools, encapsulating in a single object multiple affordances for computation (networks as graphs), visualization (networks as maps) and manipulation of data (networks as interfaces).

in Public understanding of science Publié en 2010-05
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The cartography of controversies is a set of techniques to explore and visualize issues. It was developed by Bruno Latour as a didactic version of Actor-Network Theory to train college students in the investigation of contemporary socio-technical debate. The scope and interest of such cartography, however, exceed its didactic origin. Adopted and developed in several universities in Europe and the US, the cartography of controversies is today a full research method, though, unfortunately, not a much documented one. To fill this lack of documentation, we draw on our experience as Latour’s teaching assistant, to introduce some of the main techniques of the social cartographer toolkit. In particular, in these pages we will focus on exploration, leaving the discussion of visualization tools to a further paper.

Cet article reprend une recherche de Luc Boltanski sur les enseignants de l’IEP de Paris. Dans cette recherche, Boltanski s’appuie sur une représentation tabulaire des champs sociaux pour montrer que la classe dominante se caractérise avant tout par sa multipositionnalité, c’est-à-dire par la tendance de ses membres à occuper plusieurs positions dans plusieurs champs. En remplaçant le tableau de Boltanski par un graphe d’individus et d’institutions, nous discuterons les caractéristiques et les avantages d’une sociologie de réseaux hétérogènes.

in Datafied Society: Social Research in the Age of Big Data. Publié en 2017-02-25
BOUNEGRU Liliana
GRAY Jonathan
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No doubt, networks have become indispensable mathematical tools in many aspects of life in the twenty first century. They allow us to calculate all kinds of relational metrics and to quantify the properties of their nodes, clusters and global structures. These modes of calculation are becoming increasingly prevalent in an age of digital data. But networks are more than formal analytical tools. They are also powerful metaphors of our collective life, with all of its complexity and its many dependencies. This is why, among the various strategies of data visualization, networks seem to have assumed a paradigmatic position, spreading to the most different disciplines and colonizing sometimes as mere decoration a growing number of digital and non-digital objects. Contemplating the visual representation of a network, we don’t (always) need to compute its mathematical properties to appreciate its heuristic value – as anyone who has ever used a transportation plan knows well. Networks are extraordinary calculating devices, but they are also maps, instruments of navigation and representation. Not only do they guide our steps through the territories that they represent, but they also invite our imagination to see and explore the world in different ways. [First paragraph]

in Digital Journalism Publié en 2016-06-20
BOUNEGRU Liliana
GRAY Jonathan
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Networks have become the de facto diagram of the Big Data age (try searching Google Images for [big data AND visualisation] and see). The concept of networks has become central to many fields of human inquiry and is said to revolutionise everything from medicine to markets to military intelligence. While the mathematical and analytical capabilities of networks have been extensively studied over the years, in this article we argue that the storytelling affordances of networks have been comparatively neglected. In order to address this we use multimodal analysis to examine the stories that networks evoke in a series of journalism articles. We develop a protocol by means of which narrative meanings can be construed from network imagery and the context in which it is embedded, and discuss five different kinds of narrative readings of networks, illustrated with analyses of examples from journalism. Finally, to support further research in this area, we discuss methodological issues that we encountered and suggest directions for future study to advance and broaden research around this defining aspect of visual culture after the digital turn.

The web is a field of investigation for social sciences, and platform-based studies have long proven their relevance. However the generic web is rarely studied in itself though it contains crucial aspects of the embodiment of social actors: personal blogs, institutional websites, hobby-specific media… We realized that some sociologists see existing web crawlers as “black boxes” unsuitable for research though they are willing to study the broad web. In this paper we present Hyphe, a crawler developed with and for social scientists, with an innovative “curation-oriented” approach. We expose the problems of using web-mining techniques in social science research and how to overcome those by specific features such as step-by-step corpus building and a memory structure allowing researchers to redefine dynamically the granularity of their “web entities”.

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The 2003 Unesco Convention for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage (ICH) is addressed to States and assigns them several tasks. No State, however, can accomplish all these tasks without mobilizing a wide network of institutions, associations and individuals. The national ICH policies intersect, overlap and often transform the existing relationships among these actors. This paper aims at comparing several national networks (France, Italy, Switzerland) involved in the implementation of the 2003 Unesco Convention in order to highlight national trends and specificities. The analysis will employ an innovative methodology based on digital methods and aimed at exploring the landscapes of websites dedicated to the intangible heritage. Analyzing the hyperlinking strategies of ICH actors, we will identify the specific web topology of each nation, showing which actors are central and peripheral, whether clusters or cliques are formed and who plays the roles of authority and hub.

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