A love letter to fellow ‘anti-KonMari’ researchers

On top of the strong hoarding instinct that I apparently was born with, I am a firm believer that inspiration comes from everywhere. This means that research in my dictionary is synonymous with trying not to drown in files and notes. Here is a playlist I am compiling for my kind of people.

What matters isn’t your writing software, it’s your file structures (sorry!) (Katherine Firth, Research Degree Insiders, 16 July 2020)

The morality of writing ‘well’ (Katherine Firth, Research Degree Insiders, 8 July 2021)

File not found: A generation that grew up with Google is forcing professors to rethink their lesson plans (Monica Chin, The Verge, 22 September 2021)

Why computing belongs within the social sciences (Randy Connolly, Communications of the ACM 63(8): 54-59)

Report examines emerging field of computational social science (Ed Grover, NCRM, 27 October 2021)

Lockdown #donelist [4]

I have participated in something. 👩‍💻

The four dimensions of feedback [3]

A very helpful thread. Resonates with why I like using the metaphor of a “perpetual stew” in thesis writing workshops. 🍲

Déjà vu, déjà entendu [18]

[지금 SNS에선] 출산지도 (이영경, 경향신문, 1 January 2017)

‘저출산 극복’이 목적이라고 밝혔지만, 현실에서는 ‘성희롱’이 됐다. 포털 등에는 입에 담기 민망한 성폭력적 댓글이 달리고, 게임 ‘포켓몬고’에 빗대어 ‘빈자궁고’ ‘XX몬고’라고 부르는 말까지 생겼다.

#pearls [2]

But seriously, why Twitter threads? 😭 So ephemeral…

Known unknowns

The pandemic is giving people vivid, unusual dreams. Here’s why. (Rebecca Renner, National Geographic, 15 April 2020; crossposted 16 December 2020)

Brain fog, phantom smells and tinnitus: my experience as a Covid ‘long hauler’ (Hannah Davis, The Guardian, 5 August 2020)

COVID-19 survivors are losing their hair — Here’s why (Joni Sweet, Healthline, 22 August 2020)

Teeth grinding, facial pain have increased due to stress from COVID-19 (Nancy Schimelpfening, Healthline, 24 November 2020)

Parosmia: ‘The smells and tastes we still miss, long after Covid’ (BBC, 6 February 2021)

Call for investigation of menstrual changes after Covid jabs (BBC, 16 September 2021)

Déjà vu, déjà entendu [17]

[An San a été] harcelée par des personnes avec des idées du Moyen Âge mais des moyens techniques du 21ème siècle. C’est souvent un mélange très compliqué, et c’est un mélange particulièrement explosif en Corée du Sud.

(From 0:52 in; any error in transcription is mine.)

While we are at it, let me plug in a couple of passages I wrote earlier.

In his work titled “Korea’s Crisis of Success,” Byung-Kook Kim (1997, pp.130–131) argues that the poor health of Korean party politics after the democratic transition is due to the lack of viable new “software” for running the “hardware” instituted and consolidated since 1987. Kim’s argument has nothing to do with the Internet, let alone Web 2.0, but a useful parallel can be drawn from it. To paraphrase him, Web 2.0 has not presented a linear progression towards a higher level of interactivity and of citizen participation in the Korean case, because the country’s market dynamics as well as its institutional dynamics (“software”) are not in keeping with its rapid technological and infrastructural development (“hardware”), and this somehow hinders creative interpretations of Web 2.0 on the part of individual users.

Lee, Y. (2009). ‘Internet Election 2.0? Culture, Institutions, and Technology in the Korean Presidential Elections of 2002 and 2007’. JITP 6(3): 312-325.

From investigating the ways in which the Internet was conceptualised and positioned in the arena of Korean politics from 2002 to 2007, my principal finding is a tension at play in Korean society — a highly technologically advanced society grounded in very traditional notions of institutions. To be more specific, the interplay between the existing institutional values (including legal frameworks, Confucian ethos, and the 1980s’ pro-democracy movement tradition) and what the Internet offers (both technically and metaphorically) was possibly the most significant factor that this study has identified.

Lee, Y. (2009). Internet-Facilitated Political Mobilisation: A Case Study of Nosamo, the Supporters Network of the 16th President of South Korea. PhD thesis, UoL.

Despite its significant political potential demonstrated, the Eonsoju case illustrates how ‘fragile’ P2P organising can be vis-à-vis legal and other institutional forces (see also Etling et al., 2010). […] the significance of the present study lies in the fact that it has thrown up some fundamental questions. One of them is whether horizontally networked efforts such as Eonsoju will ever be able to match up to vertically aligned institutions, especially in societies like Korea where the latter have always been more prominent (Lee, 2009b). Another question is, in a broader interpretation of the findings of Etling et al. (2010) and Dean (2005), how then to create a system that is more ‘responsive’ to the needs and opinions expressed through such networks and harness their democratising potential. Cyberspace is often presented as a clever means of circumvention for bottom-up initiatives, but the life of Eonsoju depicted here highlights that such initiatives cannot be a sustainable solution without being grounded in a physical world that is responsive to and supportive of grassroots development.

Lee, Y. (2016). The fragile beauty of peer-to-peer activism: The public campaign for the rights of media consumers in South Korea. NMS 18(10): 2254-2270.

Déjà vu, déjà entendu [16]

Finally a positive one in this ongoing series.

Metaphors we live by [4]

Interesting! See also:

💡 George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, 1980.

Try to imagine a culture where arguments are not viewed in terms of war, where no one wins or loses, where there is no sense of attacking or defending, gaining or losing ground. Imagine a culture where an argument is viewed as a dance, the participants are seen as performers, and the goal is to perform in a balanced and aesthetically pleasing way. In such a culture, people would view arguments differently, experience them differently, carry them out differently, and talk about them differently.

💡 Marius Comper, ‘How do metaphors shape political influence?‘, 4 March 2014, re. James Geary’s I Is an Other, 2011.

The term “greenhouse gases” is a case in point. Cultural Logic did hundreds of consumer interviews around the subject of climate change and hardly anyone spontaneously referred to greenhouse gases in their responses. When specifically asked about the term, few could explain how it related to global warming. Perhaps this should not come as a surprise, since few people have any direct knowledge of greenhouses these days. As a result, when prompted, subjects in the Cultural Logic study typically described greenhouses as “nice places where plants live,” according to Grady—hardly the right connotations for a discussion of global warming. Which suggested to the folks at Cultural Logic that “greenhouse gases” is an unhelpful metaphor. So they alighted on a more productive one—”carbon dioxide blanket,” which has the virtue of explicitly naming the offending gas (CO2) but the drawback of suggesting that its embrace is warm and cuddly.

💡 Tim Hwang & Karen Levy, ‘‘The cloud’ and other dangerous metaphors’, The Atlantic, 20 January 2015.

And in all our talk about streams and exhaust and mines and clouds, one thing is striking: People are nowhere to be found. These metaphors overwhelmingly draw from the natural world and the processes we use to draw resources from it; because of this, they naturalize and depersonalize data and its collection. Our current data metaphors do us a disservice by masking the human behaviors, relationships, and communications that make up all that data we’re streaming and mining. They make it easy to get lost in the quantity of the data without remembering how personal so much of it is. And if people forget that, it’s easy to understand how large-scale ethical breaches happen; the metaphors help us to lose track of what we’re really talking about.