<    come for the code,   >
        <      stay for the       >
        <        sociology        >
                 \   ^__^
                  \  (oo)\_______
                     (__)\       )\/\
                         ||----w |
                         ||     ||


Using the Nix Package Manager on an HPC Cluster

HPC clusters are great. They provide lots of CPUs and vast pools of memory that make computationally intensive analyses possible. Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to do a bunch of the work I’ve done over the past few years. But they can also get in the …

Pandemic Side Projects Through the Lens of Show HN

A few years ago, Biella Coleman, an anthropologist studying hacker culture, observed that the events surrounding the Snowden leaks constitute a "critical event" in the development of hacker culture, in the sense that they were transformative and set things on a new, politically intensified course. There have been several previous critical events, including Operation Sundevil

Surveillance Contra Education

Screening Surveillance is a series of short films produced by sava saheli singh. During an event featuring singh hosted by the d12n Research Cluster, we watched two of the films, which speculate on a near future in which “smart cities” and fully integrated health data systems envelope daily routines. The …

Look Before You Leap

So you’re a qualitative researcher who finally wants to take the plunge into digital methods. Maybe your current project has yielded a treasure trove of textual material that you’d like to make sense of with the help of text analysis techniques. Maybe you got curious about newer developments …

Hacking Ethnography

Doing ethnographic fieldwork in data-saturated environments is fraught with ethical concerns in all kinds of new and surprising ways that we’re only slowly getting a handle on. Because of that, not many resources exist yet to guide contemporary ethnographic researchers. My class at Leiden University, Ethics in Contemporary Ethnographic …

Digital Ethnography

For obvious reasons, many qualitative researchers these days are seeking ways of pursuing live and remote research. As a result, interest in digital ethnography, an established but somewhat marginal approach to social research, is now greater than ever before. Both emerging researchers just getting started as researchers and established researchers …

Enemies, Foreign and Partisan

The acquittal of the president in the Senate impeachment trial earlier this year led many observers to note the feat of “mental gymnastics” required by the Senators who voted to acquit. With the sole exception of Mitt Romney, Republican Senators managed to sit for days listening to the litany of offences committed by the president—only to walk away claiming that none of it rose to the level of the impeachable.

Hosting Your Own Code Forge

There are many reasons for wanting to host your own repositories. I won’t go into the arguments for or against, but simply present a way to get your own “forge” with code respositories, ticket system, wiki and forum up and running quickly and securely. There are a few assumptions …

How Do Digital Platforms Reshape Cities and Urban Research?

For this year’s RC21 Conference in Antwerp, Justus Uitermark and I are convening a session on digital platforms. We welcome all contributions examining how digital platforms reshape urban landscapes, relations, and research. We increasingly know and navigate the city through digital platforms like Google Maps, Facebook, Instagram, TripAdvisor, and …

A Vision for Open Science Beyond the Reproducibility Crisis

This Saturday I was invited to give a talk at the very first ReproHack in the Netherlands, held at the university library in Leiden. Because it was my first time talking on the topic of open science, I wrote up some of my thoughts that have been brewing over the …

American Sociology and Zombies

A frightening tale of imperfect data, a contrived metric, and undead scholarship. Read on, if you dare, and you'll find out what zombies haunt American sociology! 🧟‍♀️🧟‍♂️🎓 I couldn't resist the Halloween theme for a quick writeup of my recent foray into bibliometric research. I wanted to figure out whether I could identify "undead" sociological scholarship—work that, after being dead for a while, found an unexpected second lease on life. I understand "dead" in the scientometric sense of not being cited.

Social Media and the City

On Tuesday, March 26, I will give a talk in the Urban Studies program at Leiden University’s The Hague campus. The title of the talk is “Social Media and the City: A Computational and Ethnographic Investigation,” and it will provide glimpses of the research I conducted with Justus Uitermark …

Let's Generate Paper Titles

Inspired by this toot and using this tutorial -- both by Allison Parrish, who gives the greatest talks on computer-generated poetry -- I trained a recurrent neural network and had it generate some paper titles based on entries in my bibliographic database (available from here). Fun times!

Creating Equivalency?

There is an worrying amount of commentary in Germany these days that equates the actions of the far left with those of the far right. Simply put, many people seem to think that setting a car on fire to protest the G20 meeting is just as bad as setting a shelter for asylum seekers ablaze -- something neo-nazis in Germany have been doing at a frightening rate

ArXiv Fever

ArXiv is a public repository where researchers make their new work available. It's a great resource when you are trying to find cutting-edge research undertaken by physicists, computer scientists, or biologists, among others. Since these are people who do a lot to advance fields like social network analysis and datamining, sociologists should not shy away from this work, despite the many equations.

Introducing I/O

Since writing the below I’ve merged my research blog with my log of professional updates, since I was neglecting both. By setting up this research blog, I’m finally getting around to something I’ve been planning to do ever since starting my postdoc at the beginning of this …

Crossing and Dwelling

It has been a while since I last posted a professional update here. The reason hasn’t been a lack of news, but rather that so much was in flux, it was difficult to decide on the right time for a stocktaking. Then, when things began settling down earlier this …

Cyberculture and the Integration of Science and Religion

I decided to ground my reflection on the frontiers of digital work on religion in a discussion of two publications that have emerged over the past year that both seek to bring science writing to new publics.1 I chose these two publications not because I think these publications are …

Upcoming Talk in Princeton

On February 7, 2014, the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University is hosting a half-day workshop on Religion and Digital Technologies. I will participate with a short presentation on the uses, abuses and pitfalls of “big data” in the study of contemporary religion. My title is “Of …

Presentation at History of Sociology Symposium

On Saturday, August 10, 2013, I will be giving a talk at the symposium of the History of Sociology section of the American Sociological Association. The symposium under the theme “Reenvisioning the History of Sociology” will take place at the New School in parallel with the ASA Annual Meeting. The …

Inventing the Axial Age: The Outtakes

At long last, my article with John Torpey, “Inventing the Axial Age: The Origins and Uses of a Historical Concept,” has been published in Theory and Society. It has been in the making for a number of years, and as inevitably happens in the course of such a project, a …

Provincializing the European Religious Landscape

Earlier this fall, Perspectives on Europe, the journal of the Council for European Studies, published a brief report I wrote about fieldwork that I conducted a few years ago with funding from the Council’s pre-dissertation fellowship. Since the report appears behind a paywall, here’s the full text. In …

Interview with Hubert Knoblauch

Today, the second part of my interview with Professor Hubert Knoblauch from Technical University of Berlin appeared at The Immanent Frame. In the first part, published two days ago, Professor Knoblauch and I discuss the state of the sociology of religion in Germany today and what sets the subdiscipline as …