Cultural Sociology Thematic Group:
On 11 September we held the symposium Digital societies? New frontiers in social research at the Australian National University, School of Sociology, as part of Social Sciences Week. It was organised by the conveners of the Cultural Sociology Thematic Group: Timothy Graham, Naomi Smith, and Scott Doidge. The symposium provided an opportunity for digital sociologists and social researchers to explore the intersection of culture, digital media, and online spaces. It was a great success, attracting more than 40 established and emerging scholars from 19 universities and non-academic organisations across Australia.
The keynote speaker for the event was Professor Deborah Lupton, who gave a thought-provoking presentation on Data personas: Researching understandings of data profiling using innovative methods and theory. Given the amount of interest in the event, the schedule was packed with a stunning collection of papers ranging from the study of social media networks and platforms, the impact of AI on professional life, and enforcing identity politics in the digital era through to papers focused on methods that highlighted key and emerging tools and frameworks for digital social research. A provocative and enlightening panel session was also held on the ethics of social media data, which included expert panellists Jenny Davis, Katherine Bode, Daniel Angus, and Robert Ackland. This appeared to be of much interest to the scholarly community, given a rapidly changing social media environment, and the ethical dilemmas that social researchers face when incorporating social media data into their research.
We received very positive feedback from the participants and hope to hold another Digital Societies symposium in 2019. We thank TASA for their support.