I recently read an article by Melissa Gregg and have been thinking of her approach on academic blogging. The title is Banal Bohemia: Blogging from the Ivory Tower Hot-Desk and she discusses how PhD students and junior faculty bloggers differs in the way they uses blogs from senior academics. Her point of departure is subcultural theory, which I never heard about before I read this, and it’s interesting to see a similar idea like mine as the starting point for her discussion. That is, it is similar in the sense that blogging practices is situated in other cultural practices. For Gregg that means that the blogging academics she has studied uses the blogs as a way to handle the pressure that they feel in their work as academics. The blog community forms a place, a subculture, for the blogging researchers were they can discuss the changing conditions in an institutionalised academia which have changed for the worse. Gregg says “blogs offer parables of these wider shifts, a suite of ideological narratives for explaining and understanding what is happening”. Even if I can see Gregg’s point I haven’t at all seen that kind of discourse in the blogs that I have studied. Some (most?) of the blogs in Gregg’s study are anonymous and I have myself specifically chosen blogs were you can identify the person behind it. Maybe that is the big difference? However, I find the notion of blogs as “an embryonic site for labour politics” intriguing.
I’ve published two articles during the last couple of months! They will be included eventually in my thesis since I’m writing a compilation thesis (sammanläggningsavhandling) which means that it will consist of four articles in total, with a summary that binds them together. It feels great to be able to see that your work suddenly is out there for others to read:
Kjellberg, Sara (2009). “Blogs as Interfaces between Several Worlds: A Case Study of the Swedish Academic Blogosphere”. Human IT, 10:3, 1-45.
Kjellberg, Sara (2009). “Scholarly blogging practice as situated genre: an analytical framework based on genre theory” Information Research, 14 (3) paper 410.
I heard just now and interesting report on the radio from the conference Interact in Uppsala. The conference is about Human Computer Interaction and one of the keynote speakers, Kristina Höök, problematised the user concept. Can we talk about a user in the new digital development where we see people are as much producing as consuming? User feels to passive she says and suggets instead actors, players, creators or constructors. Her reflection was that we make it harder to be innovative if we think of a user rather than a creator when we design new digital tools.
I thought that was rather intriguing at the same time I have sometimes been thinking of my own project in terms of understanding a special user group. When I study why and how researchers use blogs I see that as part of being more aware of how to meet their needs in other situations of their scholarly process (and by we here I mean librarians or the research libraries for example), but maybe I should rather think of actors actually…
There is a lot of questions regarding ethics that arise when you are conducting research. In Sweden there is a new law and evolving a new praxis for “research involving humans”, including not only studies in medicine, where you have to hand in an application to a ethical vetting board:
Although I know from a friend that handed in this kind of application to the ethical board that it was not easy to adapt the format of what you where supposed to describe about your research project to how you are doing research in humanities. The application form was still including things that are targeted only at medical research.
For that reason you could in way talk here about the way natural sciences or medical sciences practices will have an influence on how research will be performed also in social sciences or humanities. There is similar discussion in Sweden in regards to publishing practices and how the assessment of research is based on practices from a certain set of disciplines.
In June there will be a workshop in Amsterdam addressing ethical considerations in doing e-research. It would be interesting to discuss there the above issue…”how will the ethical rules and laws that are being developed in the end influence the way we actually perform research? This is also mentioned in the announcement of the workshop:
I have started the collection of blogs in Holland written by active researchers. I have tried just very briefly browse through and see if the blogger or bloggers has a scholarly background, but I have too look at them again. One more selection criteria is of course that the blogs are updated regularly. The list is growing in my delicious account:
My main plan during my stay in Holland is to identify Dutch researchers that are using a blog as a tool and I hope that they will let me interview them. My searching has started and looking into a new slice of the blogosphere I would be happy to get help! I found this directory which I have started browsing:
Not knowing so much Dutch is making a bit harder, but I’m getting by with the combination of knowledge in Swedish, German and English and the blogs that I have found interesting until now seem to use mostly English.
If you have any tips fo me where to find the Dutch Academic Blogosphere I would appreciate all help I can get 🙂 It is interesting that I suddenly understand that my knowledge about the Swedish blogosphere is quite large, I know where to go, what tools there are etc. Here I have to lean on more general tools like Technorati and the mentioned blogcatalog above.