Sociology and Social Media: Problems and Prospects

The Sociological Review is delighted to announce the opportunity to take part in a one-day workshop on Sociology and social media. This workshop will be taking place exactly a year after the Value & Values event. It will allow issues to be raised by the sociological community and provide a forum in which they can be discussed, instigating a public debate about the implications of social media for sociology.

Social media has rapidly become a central part of British Sociology, with most academic departments, research centers and journals now maintaining an online presence. Social media has also increasingly been taken up by sociologists as individuals, though perhaps in part as a response to the pressures of an institutional culture demanding 'impact'. Some sociologists relish intervention in public debates, while others see it as a burden. Some claim that social media offers exciting new forums for scholarly debate, while others see it as a turn away from serious scholarship, driven by the impact agenda and an uncritical embrace of platform capitalism.

We believe that social media offers profound opportunities for the discipline at a time when its institutional presence is imperilled. However, realising these opportunities necessitates that we think systematically about how the discipline and its practitioners embrace social media, working to develop shared standards about online behaviour and shared aspirations about how sociologists can use this space productively.  If social media is here to stay, we urgently need to address what this means for the discipline in a way that extends beyond the individualised responses which have heretofore been dominant.

Call for Participation

Sociology and Social Media: Problems and Prospects is an attempt to initiate what we hope will be a much broader conversation. We invite contributions in two forms: 

Issues: five-minute talks framing a practical issue social media raises for the discipline. There will be four discussion sessions on the day: trolling and harassment, professional standards, career development, public sociology and miscellaneous. Each issue should be pitched to one of these categories. We hope to record each five-minute question and publish it on our blog for further discussion, including blog posts from those not present at the event.

Proposals: ten-minute talks identifying potential solutions to problems which social media raises, offering proposals about courses of action which individual practitioners or the discipline as a whole should pursue. These talks will also be recorded and published on the blog to facilitate further discussion.

The deadline for call for applications of participation is September 18th 2017, 17.00 BST. We cannot accept any late applications. Decisions will be communicated on 16th October 2017

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