Shitstorms, bobler eller sagsorienterede offentligheder? Digitale metoder og kontroverser på sociale medier

  • Andreas Birkbak Redaktionssekretær, Dansk Sociologi

Abstract

Kontroversen om planerne for en betalingsring i København afstedkom blandt andet en række sider på Facebook. Eksemplet er ikke enestående: Sociale medier lægger i disse år ofte brugerflade til folkelige protester og kontroverser. Sociologien har med digitale metoder fået en række værktøjer til at indsamle data om dem. Flere af de digitale teknikker er formet af et teoretisk udgangspunkt hos Bruno Latour. Artiklen undersøger, hvilke metodiske retningslinjer der følger af en Latour-inspireret forståelse af politik og demokrati. Først afsøges Latours inspirationskilder i den amerikanske pragmatisme. Dernæst diskuteres Noortje Marres’ bud på konsekvenserne for digitale metoder. Endelig analyseres betalingsringskontroversen for at give et eksempel på en undersøgelse med digitale metoder, der tager udgangspunkt i idéen om demokratisk offentlighed som noget, der opstår i anledning af konkrete problematiske sager. Analysen bygger på 4.500 posts og kommentarer fra syv forskellige Facebook-sider om betalingsringen, der opsummeres i en co-wordvisualisering. Artiklen fremfører, at et Latour-inspireret fokus på sagsorienterede offentligheder tilbyder et interessant alternativ til affejende begreber som shitstorms og ekkokamre, og diskuterer de metodiske udfordringer, som tilgangen medfører for digitale metoder. ENGELSK ABSTRACT Andreas Birkbak: Shit storms, bubbles or issue publics? Digital methods and controversies on social media The controversy around plans to introduce congestion charges in Copenhagen included a number of protest pages on Facebook. This is not unique since social media are often used for popular protests these days. With the rise of digital methods, sociology has obtained a number of tools for collecting data about such protests. Several of the digital techniques are inspired by the work of Bruno Latour. This article investigates the methodological challenges that arise from a Latour-inspired understanding of politics and democracy. First, Latour’s inspiration from American pragmatism is explored. Next, Noortje Marres’s arguments about the consequences for digital methods are discussed. Finally, the congestion charge controversy is analyzed in order to provide an example of an inquiry with digital methods that is based on the idea that publics emerge in relation to problematic issues. The analysis is based on 4,500 posts and comments from seven different Facebook pages about the congestion charge controversy. The article argues that a Latour-inspired focus on issue-oriented publics offers an interesting alternative to sweeping concepts like shit storms and echo chambers, and explores the methodological challenges that the approach entails for digital methods. Keywords: Digital methods, Facebook, publics, controversy, Latour, congestion charges

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Published
2018-04-05