Radio 4 focus on the ‘Generation Gap’

Yesterday’s Today programme on Radio Four tackled the General Election via the lens of age – and the notions of generations in particular.  In a particularly lively live broadcast from Bath “old people” were accused of having too much whilst “the young” were attacked for being too lazy and disengaged.  By default I assume this latter accusation must have excluded those who got up early to participate in the debate – which does kind of illustrate the risk of stereotyping.

The issue of house prices obviously came up, and rather unfortunately the impression seem to be created that being old automatically entailed ownership of a £1.5million Georgian house.  (It doesn’t – unless I’m not quite old enough yet and someone will just turn up with some house keys in a few years time? No I don’t think so either.)

While there were attempts to ask if things were actually different generationally – that is to say is it any different for the young now than the when ‘old people’ were young – on the whole the debate kept to a generic old v young divide.

There was a useful analysis of issues regarding pension and likely financial status of future pensioners (and its not pretty).  This is of course a challenging issue which affects many different age groups.  As now there will be a huge variation in wealth among pensioners – being old is not a guarantee of wealth now.

 

Later in the programme there was a review of being old that had nothing to do with wealth:

May 16, 2017 at 11:48 am Leave a comment

25-26 May 2017: Research Methods for Digital Work. Registration closes 15 May

More details and the full programme available via the VolEx blog.  Fantastic opportunity to explore issues at the leading edge of research practice and hear our great keynote speakers (see abstracts below).

Register before 15 May!

Key note speakers and abstracts:

Diane E. Bailey Associate Professor in School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin

Wrestling with Digital Objects and Technologies in Observations of Work

Observing people who use computers at work can be difficult. A person working with physical objects and physical technologies behaves in ways that an observer can readily track. For example, in early motion and time studies, the Gilbreths devised a system of 18 elemental movements (e.g., select, grasp, move, inspect) to analyze what workers did. A person working with digital objects and digital technologies poses a greater challenge for the observer because small, nearly indiscernible actions (such as typing a single letter) may initiate a series of work actions on the computer. Worse still, a person may be hard at work when away from the computer while software programs run “in the background.” In this talk, I discuss the methods that I developed with my colleagues to combat these issues in our multi-year field study of engineering work and technology. Our methods blend the industrial engineer’s eye for detail with the ethnographic tradition of observation and interpretation. I discuss in particular methods for collecting and analyzing digital objects and for understanding the array of digital technologies in a workplace.

Monika Büscher Professor of Sociology, Director of the Centre for Mobilities Research and Associate Director for the Institute for Social Futures at Lancaster University

Is IT Ethical? Mobile Work, Mobile Data, Mobile Methods in Crises

Disaster response can involve extreme physical and digital mobilities. In the aftermath of the 2015 Germanwings crash, for example, hundreds of emergency personnel from local and international agencies converged to scour two square miles of steep, rocky terrain for debris and DNA. Surrounding such physical mobilities are often myriad efforts to mobilise information and coordinate actions through digital technologies. New capabilities for mobile work that emerge in this context can be very positive, but they can also raise complex ethical, legal and social challenges. In collaborative research with practitioners, information technology developers and interdisciplinary teams of researchers, I explore what it means to do work on the move in crisis management to gain insight into the relationship between embodied practices of mobile work and the im|material im|mobilities of data. This takes the form of engaged ‘speculative’ sociology and involves a mixture of mobile methods, including participant observation and participant intervention, ways of ‘following the information’, affirmative critique, disclosive ethics, utopia as method, ethical and privacy impact assessment, and speculative design. These methods are a means for ‘staying with the trouble’ of often ambiguous emergent ‘intra-actions’ and effects. In this talk I provide examples from this collaborative research to explore how we can combine methods or devise new methods to capitalise on diverse forms of data to build rich and practically as well as theoretically fruitful understandings of digitally-suffused working life.

Richard Rogers Professor in New Media and Digital Culture, University of Amsterdam

Social Media Engagement: Beyond Vanity Metrics

In the age of social media one dominant mode of engagement is distraction. Whilst appearing oxymoronic, distracted modes of engagement have invited the coining of such terms as ‘flickering man’, ‘continuous partial attention’ and ‘ambient awareness.’ One’s engagement with social media (however much in a distracted state) is also routinely measured. Klout scores and similar are often called ‘vanity metrics’ because they measure performance in (what is referred to as) the ‘success theater’ of social media. The notion of vanity metrics implies at least three projects: a critique of metrics concerning both the object of measurement as well as their capacity to measure unobtrusively or only to encourage performance. The second is a corrective interface project, for users are continually distracted by number badges calling to be clicked; there is a recently revived movement afoot for so-called ‘encalming technology’. A third project could consider how one may rework the metrics. In the project I call critical analytics, I propose to repurpose altmetrics scores and other engagement measures for social research, and seek to measure the ‘otherwise engaged,’ or other modes of engagement (than vanity).

Keep in touch with event news on this blog and via twitter #RMDigital

The meeting is being organized by Christine Hine (University of Surrey), Katrina Pritchard (Swansea University) and Gillian Symon (Royal Holloway, University of London) in association with the Digital World Research Centre at the University of Surrey. The meeting has received funding from the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Surrey and the RCUK-funded NEMODE Network Plus.

 

 

 

May 3, 2017 at 6:29 am Leave a comment

25-26 May 2017: Research Methods for Digital Work. Programme now available! #RMDigital

The provisional programme for the above event is now available: Programme Version 2

Don’t forget to register soon as places are filling up fast!

April 5, 2017 at 11:41 am Leave a comment

Off to #WORK2017 with @AgeatWork @DrRWhiting and @DigiDifferences

I am delighted to have had two papers accepted for #WORK2017

Pritchard K and Whiting R: Calendar girls? Aesthetic labour in the digital age

Brown C and Pritchard K: Time to Upgrade? Reconceptualising professional identity in ‘older’ digital professionals

I am very much looking forward to my trip to Turku in August.  Hoping my conference bag envy will be rewarded!

April 4, 2017 at 11:31 am Leave a comment

Research Methods for Digital Work: May 25/26 Registration Open! #RMDigital

Research Methods for Digital Work: Innovative Methods for Studying Distributed and Multi-Modal Working Practices, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK , 25-26 May 2017

EVENT DETAILS

Registration is now open!

Participation at the meeting is limited to 50 attendees so please do sign up quickly to reserve your place. Registration fees are £60 (£40 for students/unwaged). Attendees are responsible for their own travel and accommodation.  Links to possible local accommodation can also be found on the registration page

Many thanks to all those who have submitted abstracts.  We have a great range of topics and approaches and will be posting the programme shortly.

The aim of the meeting is to promote cross-fertilization of approaches across disciplines and to instigate conversations on the theoretical purchase offered by different ways of studying work. During the two-day programme, speakers from a range of disciplines will present examples of current projects that have developed new methods or applied known methods to capture and understand both traditional work as it has moved on-line and emerging forms of digitally-mediated work. Additionally, there will be an ‘open session’ during which attendees can briefly introduce their own ongoing projects or those in development, providing an opportunity to discuss any design issues, challenges and potential solutions arising from these with other meeting members.

We are now delighted to be able to share abstracts of our keynote speaker’s talks below.  We are sure these will provide much food for thought and promote exciting debate at the event.

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Diane E. Bailey Associate Professor in School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin

Wrestling with Digital Objects and Technologies in Observations of Work

Observing people who use computers at work can be difficult. A person working with physical objects and physical technologies behaves in ways that an observer can readily track. For example, in early motion and time studies, the Gilbreths devised a system of 18 elemental movements (e.g., select, grasp, move, inspect) to analyze what workers did. A person working with digital objects and digital technologies poses a greater challenge for the observer because small, nearly indiscernible actions (such as typing a single letter) may initiate a series of work actions on the computer. Worse still, a person may be hard at work when away from the computer while software programs run “in the background.” In this talk, I discuss the methods that I developed with my colleagues to combat these issues in our multi-year field study of engineering work and technology. Our methods blend the industrial engineer’s eye for detail with the ethnographic tradition of observation and interpretation. I discuss in particular methods for collecting and analyzing digital objects and for understanding the array of digital technologies in a workplace.

Monika Büscher Professor of Sociology, Director of the Centre for Mobilities Research and Associate Director for the Institute for Social Futures at Lancaster University

Is IT Ethical? Mobile Work, Mobile Data, Mobile Methods in Crises

Disaster response can involve extreme physical and digital mobilities. In the aftermath of the 2015 Germanwings crash, for example, hundreds of emergency personnel from local and international agencies converged to scour two square miles of steep, rocky terrain for debris and DNA. Surrounding such physical mobilities are often myriad efforts to mobilise information and coordinate actions through digital technologies. New capabilities for mobile work that emerge in this context can be very positive, but they can also raise complex ethical, legal and social challenges. In collaborative research with practitioners, information technology developers and interdisciplinary teams of researchers, I explore what it means to do work on the move in crisis management to gain insight into the relationship between embodied practices of mobile work and the im|material im|mobilities of data. This takes the form of engaged ‘speculative’ sociology and involves a mixture of mobile methods, including participant observation and participant intervention, ways of ‘following the information’, affirmative critique, disclosive ethics, utopia as method, ethical and privacy impact assessment, and speculative design. These methods are a means for ‘staying with the trouble’ of often ambiguous emergent ‘intra-actions’ and effects. In this talk I provide examples from this collaborative research to explore how we can combine methods or devise new methods to capitalise on diverse forms of data to build rich and practically as well as theoretically fruitful understandings of digitally-suffused working life.

Richard Rogers Professor in New Media and Digital Culture, University of Amsterdam

Social Media Engagement: Beyond Vanity Metrics

In the age of social media one dominant mode of engagement is distraction. Whilst appearing oxymoronic, distracted modes of engagement have invited the coining of such terms as ‘flickering man’, ‘continuous partial attention’ and ‘ambient awareness.’ One’s engagement with social media (however much in a distracted state) is also routinely measured. Klout scores and similar are often called ‘vanity metrics’ because they measure performance in (what is referred to as) the ‘success theater’ of social media. The notion of vanity metrics implies at least three projects: a critique of metrics concerning both the object of measurement as well as their capacity to measure unobtrusively or only to encourage performance. The second is a corrective interface project, for users are continually distracted by number badges calling to be clicked; there is a recently revived movement afoot for so-called ‘encalming technology’. A third project could consider how one may rework the metrics. In the project I call critical analytics, I propose to repurpose altmetrics scores and other engagement measures for social research, and seek to measure the ‘otherwise engaged,’ or other modes of engagement (than vanity).

Keep in touch with event news on this blog and via twitter #RMDigital

The meeting is being organized by Christine Hine (University of Surrey), Katrina Pritchard (Swansea University) and Gillian Symon (Royal Holloway, University of London) in association with the Digital World Research Centre at the University of Surrey. The meeting has received funding from the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Surrey and the RCUK-funded NEMODE Network Plus.

March 29, 2017 at 10:40 am Leave a comment

Call for papers: Deadline extended to 10/2/17 #RMDigital

Research Methods for Digital Work: Innovative Methods for Studying Distributed and Multi-Modal Working Practices, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK , 25-26 May 2017

Many thanks to all those who have submitted abstracts so far.  We are delighted that we have had so much interest from across the world!  We have had a few requests for an extension to the submission deadline (as we understand the end of January was a popular deadline for other conferences too).  With this in mind we will be please to accept abstracts before the extended deadline of Friday 10th February. Extended abstracts of no more than 1500 words should be emailed to c.hine@surrey.ac.uk  using the subject line “Research methods for digital work”.  Full details available from Surrey University.

January 31, 2017 at 1:36 pm Leave a comment

Barbie is back!

With engineer Barbie hitting the headlines I though it was time to repost our abstract from last years Gender Work and Organization conference:

Pritchard, K; Mackenzie-Davey, K and Cooper H (2016) Barbie and “the plastic sexualisation of the entrepreneur”.

We’re still developing this research agenda and hope to bring you more Barbie research soon!

Abstract

This paper follows calls to examine complex and contested constructions of female entrepreneurship (Ahl et al., 2016), to “dare to tread more boldly” (Jennings & Brush, 2013: 694) and to look for entrepreneurship in “unusual places” (Sorensen, 2008: 91).   We build on the broader utilisation of visual research in gender studies (Pritchard & Whiting, 2015; Duffy & Hund, 2015) and further respond to calls for consideration of the visual in entrepreneurship research (Riot, 2013; Smith, 2014; Galloway et al., 2015). Our research subject is Entrepreneur Barbie[1] and a number of female entrepreneurs who were involved in Mattel’s marketing campaign.  These included ten female entrepreneurs who were named as Entrepreneur Barbie’s CIOs (chief inspiration officers) and a further female entrepreneur who was the model for a special edition of the doll.  We used images related to the marketing campaign in a photo-elicitation exercise with 58 participants (men and women) to explore responses to these representations of female entrepreneurship as we posed the question: Can Barbie be an entrepreneur?  Subsequently we reflect more critically to ask can an entrepreneur be Barbie.  Our analysis thus provokes a more complex and contradictory commentary than considerations of entrepreneurial media representations have uncovered so far.  To make sense of our analysis we draw on recent debates about “excessive entrepreneurial femininity” (Lewis, 2014: 1858) and the “diva-entrepreneur” (Smith, 2009), problematizing these ideas as complex social constructions that are interpreted and consumed via everyday images such as those within our study.  We aim to contribute to understandings of the messy processes of social construction and move beyond binaries or typologies of female entrepreneurs as our paper tells a story of entrepreneurial consumption.

[1] Barbie name and image TM and © 2014 Mattel. All Rights Reserved

January 27, 2017 at 8:45 am Leave a comment

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