Social and communication theorists Nick Couldry and Andreas Hepp draw on their recent book The Mediated Construction of Reality (Polity 2016) to explore what happens to the concept and practice of 'social order' in the era of datafication. They start out from their proposal made in the book that today we are living in an era not just of mediatization, but deep mediatization where every element of social process and social life is composed of elements that have already been mediated. This shifts the question of media's 'influence' on the social into a higher-dimensional problem. Datafication is a good example of this, and its tension with classical forms of social phenomenology will be discussed in detail in the talk. Developing particularly the social theory of Norbert Elias (and his concept of 'figuration'), Couldry and Hepp will explore how social theory can help us grasp the deep conflicts that exist today between our material systems of interdependence (particularly those focussed on information technology and data processing systems) and the normative principles such as freedom and autonomy. Such conflicts as legal theorists such as Julie Cohen note are crucial to the life of democratic subjects and the orders (democratic or not) that they inhabit.
About Nick Couldry
Nick Couldry is a sociologist of media and culture. He is Professor of Media Communications and Social Theory at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is the author or editor of twelve books including most recently The Mediated Construction of Reality (with Andreas Hepp, Polity, 2016), Ethics of Media (2013 Palgrave, coedited with Mirca Madianou and Amit Pinchevski), Media, Society, World: Social Theory and Digital Media Practice (Polity 2012) and Why Voice Matters: Culture and Politics After Neoliberalism (Sage 2010). He is Visiting Researcher at the Microsoft Research Lab, Cambridge, MA during August to December 2017 and a Faculty Associate of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society for 2017-2018. Full bio here.
About Andreas Hepp
Andreas Hepp is Professor of Media and Communication Studies at the Centre for Media, Communication and Information Research (ZeMKI), University of Bremen, Germany. He is co-initiator of and principal investigator in the research network ‘Communicative Figurations’ as well as the DFG funded priority research program ‘Mediatized Worlds’ (2010-2017). His main research interests are media sociology, mediatization, transnational and transcultural communication, datafication, and qualitative methods of media research. Publications include the monographs Cultures of Mediatization (Polity, 2013), Transcultural Communication (Wiley, 2015) and The Mediated Construction of Reality (with Nick Couldry, Polity, 2017). Full bio here.