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1 Ph.D. course, Analytical strategies and methodologies for the study of virtual worlds, 28 September -1 October 2009, RUC Analysing knowledge production.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Ph.D. course, Analytical strategies and methodologies for the study of virtual worlds, 28 September -1 October 2009, RUC Analysing knowledge production."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Ph.D. course, Analytical strategies and methodologies for the study of virtual worlds, 28 September -1 October 2009, RUC Analysing knowledge production processes in collaborative research on virtual worlds: a multiperspectival approach Louise Phillips

2 2 Presentation and group work: main focus & themes Empirical focus of case-study (see Phillips 2009, “Analysing the dialogic turn in the communication of research-based knowledge: an exploration of the tensions in collaborative research”. Public Understanding of Science):  how knowledge is co-produced through negotiation between knowledge forms, identities + social/power relations among participants in collaborative research Two themes: 1) how to reflect on + analyse relations between you as researcher and the other research actors/participants/ /informants/respondents using multiperspectival, analytical framework 2) How to analyse the negotiation of knowledge forms, (expert)identities + power relations among social actors in empirical field under study

3 3 Presentation and group work: What’s the plan? Part 1) Presentation that presents analytical framework with examples from case-study on collaborative research on virtual worlds Part 2) group work where we apply an analytical strategy to analyse a text extract and reflect on the relevance of that strategy for analysing  (i) relations between researcher and researched  (ii) different types of data from field under study

4 4 Case-study on collaborative research on virtual worlds  What happens when university researchers invite other actors to join a collaborative research process as co- producers of knowledge?  How is knowledge created through the negotiation of knowledge forms in social interaction among the different participating actors in collaborative research?  A practical orientation: How can that knowledge be used in both research and design?

5 5 Multiperspectival analytical framework: combining 3 perspectives on the tensions in dialogue-based research communication practices Science Studies  insights into tensions in shift to form of scientific governance based on rhetoric of dialogue & citizen engagement. Action Research  Insights into how research ideals in collaborative social scientific and humanities-based research are difficult to live up to in practice Dialogic communication theory  Concept of dialogue as a quality of communication that entails remaining in the tension between maintaining one’s own position whilst being open to the position of the other (Pearce and Pearce).  Tension between creating a space for a plurality of voices and orchestrating the process, such that some kind of coherent structuring of voices is produced – “a chorus rather than a cacophony” (Pearce and Pearce 2001: 115).  Point that dialogic moments can occur in non-dialogic talk (Black 2008)

6 6 Specific questions  What voices are articulated and when and how are they articulated and heard?  To what extent, when, and how, does the interaction among collaborating actors open up for voices that construct plural forms of knowledge? (centrifugal tendency)6  To what extent, when, and how does the interaction circumscribe the opening up for different voices and construct a singular project “we” and singular forms of knowledge? (centripetal tendency)

7 7 Inviting participants to join together in collective knowledge production  Susanne: These are the design parameters that I have put together in a kind of matrix [...] And I sat and put this together yesterday on the basis of the experiences which I have crystallised from my empirical material. Oh and it could be quite good fun to get you to use these parameters as a starting-point for getting discussions started […] Is that clear enough to get started? […] It would be quite a lot of fun to see what kinds of islands come out of it, depending on what you decide to discuss, [..] how you could think of going about the design, it’s really up to you in your groups to work it out. There are some parameters to use as a basis for discussion. But if there is something where you say, here we’ve got a really good point and we would like you to remember it, and you would like to remember it yourselves, then write it down and we can gather them together and send them out to you. (workshop 1, 3 April 2008).

8 8 Negotiating expertise Anders: Some say, “no but my son also sits and plays the Sims”. It’s like that, right? They were the same age as me – 48. But they sounded like my parents’ generation. People who’re the same age as me and have had access to the internet for nearly 10 years. They were blank when it came to Second Life and they hadn’t a clue about what it’s about. I told them about the businesses [in SL] and that I rent them out. They didn’t understand. It was a bit shocking. I can accept that my parents don’t understand. There’s a 25-30 year age gap. But that those who’re the same age as me don’t understand it, that was a shocking experience. Philip: But there’s also something about how you communicate it to people. You can tell them that you borrow a server. That’s what it is in reality. You can boil it down to the technical part. Susanne: Yes, instead of saying a virtual island. When you say a virtual island, people say “oh” or they laugh. But the other thing sounds so boring, right? Anders: Yes, well, I completely agree. A server, it’s just a grey box that stands in the corner. And people can understand that, but again you’re not communicating the potential or possibilities. Susanne: No and not what’s special about it either, that it’s object-oriented. (Kick-off workshop, 25 February 2008, lines 501-519)

9 9 Negotiating knowledges Søren: What I really want to hear about is if anyone thinks that it’s a completely wrong way of tackling it? Where you should start by talking to people instead, talking about visions rather than actual products (Workshop 2, 29 May 2008, lines 304-306).

10 10 Negotiating knowledges Mads: I think as an architect you could say, right? When you say window-dressing. Well, what is of interest in my field, what I’m interested in in Second Life, that’s what kind of elements you use from reality and when you depart from that reality. That is, one uses what you call window-dressing, some of those things are also used to give scale [..] There has to be some or other scale in order for you to feel at home and be able to orientate yourself. If there isn’t any scale, you’ve got no possibility of orientation. Susanne: What is scale? Mads: Scale is something in relation to the physical body. Well, in this room, where we use chairs. Susanne: Okay[...]

11 11 Negotiating knowledges Mads: If you’re talking about architecture. You play on scale in order to carry out manipulative architecture, right? Scale is an important thing specifically in relation to virtuality, in order to be able to orient yourself. I think that some of what you call window-dressing maybe belongs to what I would call something that works to bring things to scale, so that you can orient yourself. Well, a chair that doesn’t function can work to change some or other space which otherwise lacks scale so that it can be related to the physical body. I don’t know. But maybe you can take this into consideration. Søren: I will take it into account because it’s a good argument. (Workshop 2, 29 May 2008, lines 307-330)

12 12 Summary of main points of case-study  Tensions between centrifugal & centripetal tendencies realized such that process is tightly managed by the university researchers  But, at same time, dialogic moments occur as the university researchers are not always dominant:  the activities of knowledge production are framed as collective activities in which the partners are invited to participate;  and negotiations of expertise take place in which experience-based knowledge is privileged and partners are in some cases positioned as more knowledgeable

13 13 Main points continued...  Aim is not to work towards resolving these tensions: Power relations and different knowledge interests are unavoidable (Foucault)  Aim is to open up for reflexive deliberation among the collaborating actors in research focusing on how to open up more for a plurality of different voices +increase the number of dialogic moments whilst recognising constraints imposed by need to produce a product that can satisfy all relevant actors.

14 14 Group-work Let’s get on with it…


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