Blogging academics as part of labour politics

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.

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Lund University and blogging

A new sub site is added to the Lund University web presence, it includes the blogs that are written by researchers, students or others at Lund University. You will find a link from the top page of the university’s web site to the “Focus on Lund University” site. Here blogs and facebook groups as well as RSS for news are collected. My blog is of course in the list ☺ even though I am a bit slow on updating it…however to be more frequent is one of the promises for the new year.

2 articles about scholarly blogging practices

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 theoryInformation Research, 14 (3) paper 410.

User or something else?

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…

Twitter is really entering the scholarly world

If you would have asked me six months ago I would have just shaken my head…but now I just tried out Twitter to see what it was after meeting Lilia.  A couple of months later I have made some observations about scholarly activities on Twitter…

Somehow one way of using Tweets as a remembering tool of links is done in the same way as the early blogs that often were link collections of good web sites to remember or recommend to your community.

What does writing do

I found Bazerman’s Shaping “Written Knowledge: The Genre and Activity of the Experimental Article in Science” online fully available as a PDF file, which was great since it is hard to get hold on and I have to return my library copy now. As the title suggests he writes about written knowledge in science and studies the writing practices in different disciplines. His standpoint is constructivist oriented and praxis based and is looking at science as carried out by rhetorics. It is all in the writing you could say but not entirely so or at least you have to problematize what you mean by writing. To carry out his examination how written knowledge in the sciences is created he uses case studies and looks at rhetoric activity as the interaction of microevents where the choices are made by individuals and macrostructures where the context and social forms over time is shaping choices. You could also say that he intertwine the scholarly practice with the written discourse and don’t separate it to make specific writing rules etc. The writing is not only defined as the text and you can not tell what writing does by only textual analysis but Bazerman situates the text in the discourse community much in the same line of thinking that I understand Swales genre theoretical approach. Also with Bazerman is physics the main case study – although it isn’t the intention for Bazerman it is strange that physics always becomes the discipline to use as a “role model”, why is that?

Unconference

Quite recently I stumbled upon the concept of unconference which is kind of a triggering idea. It is a way of meeting people which share the same interest that you do, but not in the traditional organised way of a conference but more chaotic and doing/creating something together. There is no spectators on a unconference, you have to participate and be active otherwise the whole idea fails. Some examples that have come in my way of this nice kind of sharing knowledge is:

Geek Girl Meetup – yesterday in Stockholm. I wish I could have been there it sure looked fun.

Bibcamp – a lot of librarians meet in Göteborg later this spring to discuss e-publishing and web stuff.

Reboot – about digital technology and change in Copenhagen each year, which in 2009 will be in late June.