Category Archives: STS

Kesiena Chris-Iwuru #UBC MA Defence: Youth Perspectives on #Cyberbullying and Social Media Platforms #bced

Kesiena Chris-Iwuru, BSc, MSc

Masters of Arts in Media & Technology Studies Thesis Defense

YOUTH PERSPECTIVES ON CYBERBULLYING AND SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS: TEEN AGENCY, INTERACTIVITY, AND SOCIAL COGNITION

Friday January 19, 2018, 10:00 am, Scarfe 2108

ABSTRACT: This research examines how social media platforms have reconfigured traditional notions of social interaction and specifically how a sample of youth view these platforms in light of problems with cyberbullying. The research design included two primary questions: 1) How do social media platforms reconfigure social interaction and means by which youth perceive and understand these platforms? 2) What role does social cognition play in youth perspectives of online identities and interactions in relation to cyberbullying? The participants included nine Grades 10-12 students (4 males and 5 females), aged between 16-21 years. The research site was an independent high school located in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada. Actor-network theory and optimal distinctive theory (Brewer, 1991; Latour, 2005) formed the theoretical perspective for analyzing, discussing and the presentation of the research study findings. Data were collected through ethnographic techniques, including observations, artefacts (documents, etc.), and interviews.

The findings from this study indicate that the ubiquitous mode of interaction within these spaces deviates from traditional norms, with resulting consequence that impact users’ ability to perceive telepresence. The manner in which social media spaces are understood is largely influenced and informed by the predominant collective, where the self is seen as undefined and enacted in context-specific processes. The findings also indicate that interactions, perception, and mode of responses to conflict situations are based on previous experiences and currently held notions of what constitutes appropriate online behaviour. The implications and significance of the research findings have relevance for educators on how best to engage and understand teenagers in these spaces, with new and effective measures to examine instances of conflict and antisocial behaviour online. For social media companies and startups, it provides an insight into the nuanced mode and context of interaction prevalent within these platforms and the resulting impact on how individuals, the collective, and the platform itself all exert influence on each other.

  • SUPERVISOR:  Dr. Stephen Petrina
  • COMMITTEE MEMBER:  Dr. Franc Feng
  • THESIS EXAMINER:  Dr. Samson Nashon

Yu-Ling Lee #UBC PhD Defence: Designing TechnoTheologies #bced

The Final Oral Examination For the Degree of
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
(Curriculum Studies)

Yu-Ling Lee

Wednesday, May 10, 2017. 12:30 pm
Room 207, Anthropology and Sociology Building,
6303 Northwest Marine Drive

DESIGNING TECHNOTHEOLOGIES: ETHICS, PEDAGOGIES, AND SPIRITUALITIES IN MAKER ACTOR-NETWORKS

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to understand how religion and spirituality matter in the consumer use, design, and engineering of media and technology. Specifically, the research questions were: 1) What role do ethics and values perform in maker and hacker networks? 2) How are ethics and values integrated and manifested throughout the design process in maker or hacker networks? 3) What are the routines, rituals, and subjective well-being of participants in the maker or hacker design process? The research setting was the designers in the maker community in Vancouver and technologists associated with Code for the Kingdom in Seattle. All designers and technologists in Vancouver and Seattle have independent projects at various levels of collaboration. I recruited seven participants affiliated with the Vancouver maker community for in-depth analysis of their design process. In Seattle, I recruited two hackers who participated in Code for the Kingdom, a Christian organization that hosts hackathons for altruistic and religious purposes. Their focus on innovation, design methodologies, and critical making allowed me to discern their values and ethics through their design process. These participants have different perspectives on religion and spirituality, which make their technotheological networks complex. Case studies facilitated in-depth examination of makers and hackers as the main actors of our inquiry. The use of video in dialogue with ethnographic inquiry allowed for nuance, discerning complexities, and giving form to expression in designing technotheologies. Conceptually, the research is framed by actor-network theory (ANT) and value sensitive design (VSD), enabling the study to discern how participants discover, design artifacts, make meaning, develop values, and maintain a sense of the good life and well-being, emotional and spiritual. Findings indicate that among the makers and hackers, technotheological networks articulate specific values alongside technological creations, practices, and personal ways of being. In their own unique ways, these makers and hackers inquire into the materialized morality and design phases of ethically responsible decision making processes. Conversely, the non-human actors express their own values within technotheological networks. My role as a techno-theologian helped facilitate competing value claims by positing a normative focus and by temporarily opening black boxes.

EXAMINING COMMITTEE
Chair:
Prof Richard Young (Counselling Psychology)

Supervisory Committee:
Prof Stephen Petrina, Research Supervisor (Curriculum Studies)
Prof E. Wayne Ross (Curriculum Studies)
Prof Francis Feng (Curriculum Studies)

University Examiners:
Prof Kerry Renwick (Curriculum Studies)
Prof Brian Wilson (Kinesiology)

External Examiner:
Prof Matt Ratto

A #History of the Critique of #Technology: A response to @LatourBot #sts

I wrote a history of the critique of technology as a response to Latour’s “Why Has Critique Run Out of Steam?” There have been few, if any, adequate responses to Latour’s ground-breaking essay. This is my second response to Latour and concurs to a degree with his thesis. My first response (“The New Critiquette“) was also a history but offered a defence of critique, or rather an analysis of the critique of critique.

This new response to Latour is the opposite of the first. I wanted to write something resourceful, something we didn’t already have. Now we have a working history of the critique of technology.

It’s big history in that it extends over an expansive historical scale (550 BCE-present) and geographic scope. I tried to be inclusive, attending to questions of gender for instance, but realize there are omissions. It’s a work in progress. I wrote nearly each paragraph as a mini-essay of sorts, meaning that it has it’s own integrity as a case study. Each of these mini-essays gives an empirical example; they demonstrate critique or criticism of media and technology at different times in different places.

The chapter sets up a series of theses, not the least of which is that the critique of media and technology has run out of steam.

If critique barely changes a thing, including youth consciousness, what is its utility? Most critiques of media and technology are instrumental by definition and intended to have an effect or make a difference. If it has been enough for criticism and critique to offer a counter to progress narratives, then how effective has this been? Has the critique of media and technology run out of steam, as Latour (2004) suggests? If out of energy drawn from the steam age, should critique be retrofit to run on light and signals? Meantime, the trend in vaping may conceivably pressurize critique enough to sputter into the future. Is the critique of media and technology over time sufficiently prejudicial or probative? Instrumental or terminal?

I had great fun writing this and have an idea of what to do next with it. It’s most immediate setting is as a chapter in Critique in Design and Technology Education, edited by P. John Williams and Kay Stables. Thank you to Kay and John, who invited me to write this. I also thank Belinda von Mergenson, David Barlex and Marc de Vries, who gave superb feedback along with other colleagues at a conference in Marseille and workshop in Sausset les Pin. The conference and workshop were hosted by Jacques Ginestiè, his wife Marjolaine, and team from Marseille University.

Sausset les Pin Workshop

Sausset les Pin Workshop

That was tremendous fun as well. And yes, despite the beauty of the tranquil setting on the coast, we did work! Merci.

Sausset les Pin Workshop

Sausset les Pin Workshop

Empowering Girls as Change Makers in Maker Culture: Stories from a Summer Camp for Girls in Design, Media & Technology

Congratulations Paula (PJ) MacDowell’s, who successfully defended her PhD dissertation, “ Empowering Girls as Change Makers in Maker Culture: Stories from a Summer Camp for Girls in Design, Media & Technology”.” PJ is now Dr. MacDowell! Congratulations!

Paula MacDowell

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APIs: Is Code/Coding subject to copyright?

Can code/coding be itself subject to copyright? The answer to that question has broad implications for the unfolding of new technologies. With the binary code that underlies the infrastructure of modernity- for which presently, only a select few are able to understand, decode, or debug, the code that is used to regulate transactions of daily functions progressively moving, from desktops to portables, tablets and mobile devices- is there also a need to further define, that which is subject to copyright protection at the level of APIs running our mobile devices? The US Court of Appeal apparently thinks so; in a recent decision adjudicating competing claims by Oracle and Google. with Oracle alleging that the Android mobile operating system violated seven different Java patents. even though Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court had ruled differently, in 2012.

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Copyright in (cyber)space: Space Oddity

Here is a momentous instance: when copyright in cyberspace meets copyright from the depths of space! For according to Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, copyright permission he had been granted on May, 13, 2013, when as the first Canadian Commander of the International Space Station ISS for Expedition 35 , he played and recorded a tribute originally composed by David Bowie, expires on May, 13, 2014. As it appears, link for the popular culture oddity that Commander Hadfield had popularized from the depth of space, viewed 22 million times, has since expired on Youtube.

That said. a legacy remains, documenting the joint space odyssey, including the above historic transfer of space command, from Hadfield to Vinogradov, from Expedition 35 to Expedition 36, in English and Russian.

Commander Hatfield playing and recording in space

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3D Printing: Paper as media, in the 3rd Industrial Revolution

Interesting conference and expo, specializing in 3D printing technologies as the emergent third industrial revolution (perhaps Vancouver next, for its upcoming Expos?), where it has become possible, to print any content in any form (see the 3D printed guitar!) in any media- even paper, in full color 3D- dispelling possible prior preconceptions of paper, in which paper emerges as durable material, for our design considerations, that due of its unique properties, can also be coated, to extend its initial properties with the strength and properties of other as/more durable materials. 3D printing

Bruno Latour: War and Peace in an Age of Ecological Conflict

UBC, Vancouver, and Lower Mainland students and faculty: Calendar the return of Bruno Latour to UBC @ 23 September 2013 (Monday eve, 7:30 downtown at the Vogue Theatre). For this fall’s Peter Wall Exchange, Professor Latour will address War and Peace in an Age of Ecological Conflict. See Peter Wall Institute for details.

Graduate Seminar: Bruno Latour and STS

Please consider enrolling (or advising enrollment) this Winter 1 term (Sept-Dec 2013) in a graduate Seminar on Bruno Latour and STS (at the University of British Columbia).  The course is listed as a Masters Seminar but I encourage all PhD students with STS interests to enroll for intellectual reasons, for taking leadership roles within the seminar, and for learning to teach and design courses on Latour and STS.

Note that the course is Pass-Fail format.  This year the seminar focuses on Latour and the postsecular turn in STS:

EDCP 501 : Thursdays (1:00-4:00)

Course Description:

This seminar focuses on recent work of Bruno Latour, arguably the most creative and challenging scholar of Science & Technology Studies (STS).  Latour’s reputation and scholarship traverses an extremely wide range of disciplines in addition to STS (e.g., anthropology, art, education, environmental studies, geography, history, law, philosophy, political science, sociology, theology, etc.).  Following a survey of Latour’s work and the postsecular turn in STS, we will focus on three new texts: An Inquiry into Modes of Existence (2013), Rejoicing: Or the Torments of Religious Speech (2013), and On the Modern Cult of the Factish Gods (2010). The seminar is interdisciplinary and inviting, and students from any and all disciplines are encouraged to enroll.  We will work systematically through these texts to closely examine Latour’s strategies for doing STS.