Ethnographic Perspectives on Practices, Infrastructures and Affordances of Truth-Making in Digital Societies
7th conference of the Section “Digitization in Everyday Life” of the German Association of Cultural Anthropology and Folklore Studies (dgv)
Institute for European Ethnology & Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage (CARMAH), Humboldt University of Berlin (Germany)
7-9 October 2020
Organizers: Christoph Bareither, Dennis Eckhardt, Alexander Harder, Julia Molin
Illustration: Julia Molin
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About the Conference
The Conference “Digital Truth-Making: Ethnographic Perspectives on Practices, Infrastructures and Affordances of Truth-Making in Digital Societies”, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), is the 7th conference of the Section “Digitization in Everyday Life” of the German Association of Cultural Anthropology and Folklore Studies (dgv), hosted by the Institute for European Ethnology & the Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage (CARMAH) at the Humboldt University of Berlin (Germany) (Conference organizers: Christoph Bareither, Dennis Eckhardt, Alexander Harder, Julia Molin, Antonia Sladek and Vanessa Zallot).
The conference addresses the fact that the ubiquity of digital infrastructures has brought about numerous drastic changes to a globalized world. One of the most pressing socio-political questions in this context is how digitisation has changed the ways in which particular truths are enacted and established in everyday life. While the vague concept of “post-truth” has played a major role in public discussions on political and societal meaning-making throughout the last years, there is a lack of analytical contributions offering insights into the everyday information and knowledge practices in the “post-truth” era, especially when it comes to the particular role that digital technologies play in this context. Thus, the core objective of the international conference “Digital Truth-Making” is to provide empirical insights, conceptual approaches and theoretical reflections on how the making of truths is increasingly entangled in complex digital infrastructures and dependent on the relation between human activities and programmed algorithms.
Today, these digital infrastructures and algorithms and the policies inscribed in them decisively contribute to and shape everyday truths. Taking this into account, the event aims for a discussion of the particular role of algorithmic affordances in relation to everyday practices and how truths are constituted in-between these dimensions. In so doing, the conference does not follow one coherent definition or conceptualisation of “truth”, “post-truth” or “digital truth-making”, but instead allows for exploring the potentials of such concepts through approaching relevant practices inductively and in situ. A particular strength of the conference, making the in situ approach to digital truth-making especially productive, is its focus on ethnographic perspectives. While questions of truth-making related to digital media are often approached through large quantitative data sets, we argue that it is the how of digital truth-making that requires particular attention. This means that ethnographic approaches, combining “online” and “offline” analysis, as well as interdisciplinary approaches that rethink the relationship between the digital and non-digital, are well-suited to address this question.
Full-day Live Conference on October 8-9, 2020
The live conference is divided into: a) live keynote presentations with follow-up discussions, b) five conference panels with various discussion and participation formats directly connecting to the pre-watched videos, c) a lively conference sandbox, including a socializing program in-between sessions, workshops, poster presentations and more.