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Digital Methods Summer School

Digital Methods Summer School

Every year, the Digital Methods Initiative organises an intensive summer course in which students learn and develop internet research techniques for studying societal conditions and cultural change.

Digital Methods Initiative

During the Digital Methods Initiative (DMI) Summer School, participants actively engage in empirical research projects, employing web-specific software tools, such as scrapers and crawlers. The course concludes with an event at which the research projects are presented. 

“Trolls, bots and dictators” - On the current state of social media research

The quotation comes from an essay on why to quit Twitter, but more generally it could be considered a summary of how social media and particularly its dominant study have evolved over a few short years, though the order could be changed around. If one considers the chronology of research, one could begin with the dictators and especially the debunking of the naiveté and euphoria associated with the web's potential. Instead of emancipatory, the web became authoritarian, with Shirky's web supplanted by Morozov'sPost-Snowden, the surveillant state (and corporation) became the lamentably preferred object of study, rather than the connective action behind social movement power. Studies of automation that depart from the Microsoft experiment of Tay to the so-called computational propaganda that includes autonomous agents inflating follower counts and thus symbolic power, are preferred over critiques of metrification and later datafication. Trolls in themselves were once tolerated as part of the landscape like an otherwise strong European democracy might be said to have tolerated a small right-wing party. But the idea that studying the “earnest” web for social causes and civic initiatives misses the “ambivalent” web of insincere mockery is a recent turning point. We now turn to that ridiculing web as worthy of study, even if it provides it with more "oxygen". Initially a misapplication of the term, scholars now also study the other 'trolls' seeding national media systems with disinformation, and whether consumers of the online junk actually believe what they share. This current state of the web and social media is the starting point for this year's Summer School, including how its study may be productively oriented.

More information

For more information on the summer course see the website of the Digital Methods Initiative:

Digital Methods Initiative

Course dates:

July 2019

Application deadline:

May 2019
Apply early to ensure your participation

Academic director: Prof. Richard Rogers
Credits: 6 ECTS / Certificate of Completion
Tuition fee in 2018:

€ 895
UvA Master's and Research Master's students are exempted from paying the UvA fee

Applicants: Open to all applicants MA level and up, incl PhD candidates and motivated scholars as well as practitioners.
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Digital Methods Summer School
Mode Short-term
Credits 6 ECTS, 2 weeks
Language of instruction English
Starts in July