Researching code/coding research(ers)

In this blog post for the ‘Code Acts in Education’ initiative Ben Williamson offers some reflections on how algorithms and code are shaping research practices, outcomes and dissemination. Ben provides an overview of some of the literature in this area and reflects on what these developments might mean for social research. One set of observations he points towards concerns the ‘end of theory’ in an age of big data and digital analytics. This raises some important questions about how social research should respond to these transformations in media infrastructures and the new possibilities they offer. It seems to me that theory is crucial in contextualising such data and in providing critical responses to new forms of analytics. So I would tend towards reassertion the need for conceptually orientated work. Ben’s piece poses this question really effectively and illustrates the need for some reflection upon how our research and knowledge is being reshape by algorithms, digital data, and new systems of measurement. Ben’s post also links to a wide range of important materials on this topic.

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