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Making Things Valuable$
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Martin Kornberger, Lise Justesen, Jan Mouritsen, and Anders Koed Madsen

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198712282

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198712282.001.0001

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Tracing Data—Paying Attention

Tracing Data—Paying Attention

Interpreting Digital Methods Through Valuation Studies and Gibson’s Theory of Perception

(p.257) 12 Tracing Data—Paying Attention
Making Things Valuable

Anders Koed Madsen

Oxford University Press

Methods of social enquiry can be understood as valuation-devices because they enable people to prioritize social attention in situations where this resource is scarce. This chapter discusses a new mode of knowledge creation— digital methods—that has begun to shape practices of social enquiry. Such methods are being experimented with across the public and the private sector, and they are characterized by repurposing web-native objects (such as hits, likes, and tweets) as social research data and turning them into dynamic visualizations of specific societal phenomena. Illustrating the use of such methods in the context of crisis management in the UN, the chapter claims that there is a dominant narrative around the practice of digital methods that has specific ways of addressing questions about theory and representation. In addition, there is an unexplored theoretical potential in rethinking digital methods through a combination of valuation theory and James Gibson’s theory of perception.

Keywords:   digital methods, James Gibson, visualization, valuation, social attention, crisis management

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