On making data social: heterogeneity in sociological practice

Michael, Mike. 2004. On making data social: heterogeneity in sociological practice. Qualitative Research, 4(1), pp. 5-23. [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article is concerned with how we might go about theorizing the roles of nonhumans (technologies, animals, etc.), and their associations with humans, in the production of ‘social data’. Drawing on recent sociological work on heterogeneity, the article explores how nonhumans contribute to the emergence of both the ‘microsocial’ and ‘macrosocial’ as complex patterns of ordering and disordering. These patterns are exemplified with reference to a ‘disastrous interview episode’. With the aid of such concepts as parasite, preposition and co(a)gent, the disastrous interview episode is interpreted in three ways to show how nonhumans must be disciplined in order to allow the emergence of social data; how nonhumans’ ‘misbehaviour’ can be understood in terms of their ‘hybridic’ associations with humans; and how the interaction between hybrids mediates such macro entities as universities and corporations. Finally, in conclusion, some of the broader implications of this analysis for sociological practice are considered.

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co(a)gent, heterogeneity, parasite, preposition, social data, sociological practice

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology > Centre for Study of Invention and Social Process (CSISP) [2003-2015]



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Date Deposited:

22 Jan 2010 10:50

Last Modified:

07 Jul 2017 11:12

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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