Understanding the Social is a free one day interdisciplinary conference organised by Dr Zoetanya Sujon and Dr Harry Dyer. The event takes place on January 8th 2019, at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.
This event aims to critically examine not only the meanings of the social in contemporary digital practices across cultures, but also challenges underlying epistemologies of the social in research and popular cultures. It is a purposefully interdisciplinary event, drawing together scholars, researchers, and students from a range of backgrounds to explore how technology is shaping new and emerging conceptualisations of the social.
Dr Zoetanya Sujon is a Senior Lecturer in Digital Media at the London College of Communication. She teaches across a range of Communications and Media courses, specialising in social technologies, digital cultures, and platform politics.
Driven by a deep curiosity about the depths of digital culture, Zoetanya’s research interests broadly address the relationship between “new” technologies, emerging media practices, and socio-political culture. Questions about the epic connections between the technological and the cultural inform Zoetanya’s research vision, particularly as related to social change, political and social life and social theory.
Currently, these interests are based around four themes: social technologies and platform politics; the intersections between privacy and sharing culture; innovation and virtual technologies; and the impact of digital media on changing skill sets and digital literacies.
Zoetanya is also an active member of many media research associations, such as Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR), Social Media and Society, Media Communication and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA), European Communications Research and Education Association (ECREA), and Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE).
Zoetanya’s current work examines social technologies from many perspectives including:
- Sharing culture and shifting privacies
- Emerging technologies such as virtual reality
- A 5 year study on the meaning of Facebook for young adults (2013-2017)
- Digital literacies and designing for the future
- On-going engagement with both established and innovative digital research methods and tools.
Zoetanya is also writing her first book, ‘The Social Media Age: Power and Participation in a Connected World’, which takes up these questions examining the impact of social platforms across political economic and cultural spheres (Sage, publication 2019).
Dr Harry T Dyer is a digital sociologist and lecturer in education at the University of East Anglia.
Harry joined as a lecturer after successfully completing his PhD at UEA in the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning. He has a broad academic background, with degrees in linguistics, education, and social science research methods. His research interests are equally broad, and hope purposefully seeks to create connections between different academic fields and disciplines.
Harry’s current research revolves around four projects:
- How social media platform design affects identity presentation and social interaction. His research proposes a new theoretical framework through which to consider the relationship between platform design and user that results in unique but bound identity performances.
- What fringe groups, conspiracy theories, and in particular the Flat Earth movement can tell us about attitudes towards science, knowledge, and education in the 21st century.
- How technology is shaping our understanding of education as a physical, academic, and social space.
- How educational institutions, students, and policy makers define, teach, and conceptualize digital citizenship.
Harry is currently working on his first book, titled ‘Designing the Social: Unpacking Social Media Design & Identity’ deals with many of these issues, exploring how social media shapes our identities, and what this means for the integration of social media in educational spaces. The book will be published Autumn 2019 with Springer Publishing.
Harry is a keen believer in public engagement and discussion of research. You can watch his TED talk here, read his latest piece for The Conversation, listen to his podcast interviews here and here, listen to his interviews with BBC Radio here, or read his posts for the LSE impact blog.