Dataficerede offentligheder – overvejelser over digitale metoder i lyset af den tidlige amerikanske pragmatisme

  • Anders Koed Madsen


Med afsæt i henholdsvist den amerikanske offentlighedssociologi fra den første halvdel af det 20. Århundrede – samt den vigtigste litteratur indenfor digitale metoder – vil denne artikel fremføre to argumenter. Det første argument er, at offentligheder ikke kan begrebsliggøres isoleret fra de materielle omstændigheder, der giver dem synlighed for sig selv og andre. Det andet argument er, at infrastrukturen omkring digitale spor og digitale metoder åbner for muligheden af at synliggøre – og dermed også begrebsliggøre – den offentlige debat ud fra et mere relationelt of processuelt perspektiv end f.eks. spørgeskemaundersøgelsen. Med afsæt i disse to argumenter introducerer artiklen fire principper, der kan være med til at guide anvendelsen af digitale metoder til at forstå offentlighedsdannelser i en digitalt medieret tid. De fire principper er a) at følge sagsdrevne offentligheder, b) se distinktioner nede fra de symboler, der udveksles af disse offentligheder, c) tage borgeres netværkspositioner med i vurderingen af deres meningers effekt og d) at være opmærksom på temaers intensitet og omskiftelighed over tid. Den praktiske konsekvenser af at følge disse principper vises gennem empiriske erfaringer fra et nyligt overstået datasprint med Teknologirådet. ENGELSK ABSTRACT: Anders Koed Madsen: Data­Publics – reflections on digital methods in the light of early American pragmatism This article introduces two arguments concerning discussions of digital methods. They are based on US public sociology from the first half of the 20th century and the most important literature within the field of digital methods. The first argument is that publics cannot be understood in isolation from the material conditions that give them visibility both for themselves (intra-public visibility) and for others. The second argument posits that the infrastructure of digital traces and digital methods affords visualizing and conceptualizing public debate from a relational and procedural perspective rather than from employing a questionnaire survey. The article introduces four principles that can help guide the use of digital methods to understand publics in a digitally mediated era. They are: a) follow issue publics, b) use the analytical distinctions from the symbols exchanged by these publics, c) take into account the network positions of citizens when assessing the impact of their opinion, and d) be aware of the intensity and interchangeability of themes over time. The practical consequences following these principles are shown through empirical experiences from a recently held data sprint with the Danish Board of Technology. Keywords: Digital methods, pragmatism, Chicago-school, publics, surveys, Lazarsfeldt.


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