Hoodrat Scholarship

From The Real World to the Digital

Although I have engaged in these readings in the past I was excited to look at them through a different lens. Reading and discussing these readings with Latryce got my wheels turning and had me thinking of so many ways that we can combine the two (reality and digital soc) and how that can be emersed into our own personal pedagogies.

Firstly, I would like to point out that I am still taken aback at the way Digital Sociology was viewed by old-school soc folks. There was a lot of shade and envy. The concept of “google envy” blew my mind the first time I read it and this time around too. One would think that people would be open and accepting of more efficient and faster ways of collecting Big Data. I know that I am a proponent of working smarter and not harder so this confuses me.

(me as confused Beyoncé)

“Some sociologists have speculated that in a context in which many diverse actors and organisations can collect and analyse social data from digital sources, the claim of sociologists that they have superior knowledge of researching social life and access to social data is challenged.” Challenging something like the works and strides in Digital Sociology is counterproductive in my eyes.Must sociologists suffer from ‘data envy’ (Back 2012: 19) or what otherwise has been termed ‘Google envy’ (Rogers 2013: 206) in this age of the corporatisation of big data?”

I want to talk about using digital sociology in my own pedagogies. After thinking about what that looks like in a classroom setting or learning community I have come up with a few things that are non-negotiable when it comes to digital sociology + classroom pedagogy.

In order to teach students what digital sociology is and how it can be utilized you first have to gauge their engagement with what a social digital community is. These communities consist of blogs, forums, open access materials, online learning communities (ex: Black Women Radical School), and social groups created on social media platforms (Academia Twitter, Black Twitter, Blackademia). Their understanding of this will make it easier to introduce these things and use them as supplemental materials to build a classroom with a foundation in digital sociology.

One way I have been doing this in my own classroom is that I encourage students to create digital learning communities in the classroom through an app they have (like GroupMe). I then encourage them to pay attention to how our classwork works with the digital, what does “digital” mean, and how we can use digital to measure things such as archiving social media posts on a specific subject to study reactions.

(me explaining how digital is everywhere, talking about surveillance, and the FBI agent in my computer to my students)

One last thing I wanted to talk about. So in Barnard’s text, they talked about the FIVE OBJECTIVES FOR THE FUTURE OF DIGITAL SOCIOLOGY. The part that I want to chat about is the first objective: Renew our analytical orientation – this includes our theories, methods, ontologies, and epistemologies – to better account for the ongoing shift toward an increasingly networked social world. I want to look at this in connection to your question in your video about theoretical and epistemological foundations.  What came to mind for me is that digital sociologists are relying on the constant renewal and reviewal of updated language and signifiers that speak to the CURRENT state of social digital communities. Because this discipline section focuses on a thing (I cannot find another word to describe what the digital/social is)  that is everchanging they have to rely on being ahead of the curve by staying abreast of what is changing and evolving in these spaces. Word usage, labeling, and data are changing because we are evolving into a digitized society.

For those who don’t know me well yet, Gina knows this, I often refer to digital sociology as tin-foil hat business. It’s a spiral that can send you all around the google machine. I am excited to read everyone’s posts and to learn more this semester.



Categories: digisocymethods

What was the method? » « Get To Know Ya Girl


  1. My first comment is that confusion is a formidable and beautiful Beyoncé state.

    I like this thought a lot: “Word usage, labeling, and data are changing because we are evolving into a digitized society.”

    I’m also excited to learn more this semester!

  2. Hey Kályn,
    I appreciate the teaching perspective you bring with this post (as well as all of the well-placed memes). I wanted to comment on the last point you made, regarding digital sociology essentially being a moving target. Due to the nature of the internet, I think this will forever be a challenge for this disciple; by the time digital scholars publish their books on findings from digital research, they are often times already outdated. In encouraging your students to use digital platforms for learning, I was curious if you discussed with them the benefit of these platforms is staying on the cutting edge of information sharing. Funnily enough, the internet seems to be the best tool digital scholars have to stay up-to-date on what best practices are for studying the internet! The push the authors of “Digital Sociologies” made for open-source peer reviews and other increased digital scholarly practices in the future was something that resonated with me.

  3. I completely agree with you on the methodology on teaching students digital sociology. It all starts with getting them interested about the subject and digital aspects already present in their life that are already interesting to them. Looking at what is circulating around as trending topics on social media apps such as Twitter, Reddit or Buzzfeed for example is a good way to implement discussions. You pointed out the discussion forums, blogs and online communities which is 100% beneficial because usually students will always have some sort of opinion because they are all involved in some aspect of the digital space whether they are actively or passively participating. The further and further you think about it you kind of do just end up in this rabbit hole of digital sociology unless guided correctly with the right tools because there are so many different dimensions to digital sociology that not everyone thinks about. Definitely can’t have tunnel vision when it comes to digital sociology. I love your reference by the way of referring to digital sociology as tin foil hat business. I never thought of it in that way before.

    Sam Beaupre

  4. I love this discussion. Ka’Lyn, yes, the shade is real. Sociology as a discipline has been foundationally crafted from a white male perspective. Marx, Weber, and Durkheim make up the “canon.” It was initially created to “foil” with anthropology (and the now-defunct Orientalist Studies) for colonizing purposes. The initial discipline of anthropology was to study the “non-West” (and all the reasons it needed to be colonized) and sociology as the study of the “The West” (and all the reasons it was worthy of doing the colonizing). With the increasing fetishization of quantitative methods and positivist epistemology, the “unbias” approach to research gave an uncritical look at “the social.” With the push into the 20th century, that is now changing. We are seeing more BIPOC and womxn scholars who are shaping and challenging the discipline. Younger, more reflexive people are entering into Sociology and are transforming it. Every time I see this happen, the scholars driving the change are taking critical analytic approaches in their work. And it garners shade every time from the more “conventional” end of discipline. Its been that way for feminist sociology, Queer theorists, Critical Race Scholars, Black Feminist Thought. So, digital sociology is in good company, as I see all of those subdisciplines have transformed the works we do and are finding their way into the mainstream.

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