Researching digital discourse in trans-mediational and trans-contextual everyday encounters

Andreas Stæhr (University of Copenhagen), Sirpa Leppänen (University of Jyväskylä) & Piia Varis (Tilburg University)

The interaction, mutual embedding and merging of online and offline practices in people’s everyday lives challenge earlier perceptions of a gap between ‘the internet’ and ‘the offline world’ and for that reason digital media practices need to be investigated as meaningful and crucial parts of people’s everyday lives (e.g. Stæhr 2014; Peuronen, forthcoming; Leppänen et al. 2016). Thus, the methodological and analytical frameworks of digital sociolinguistics need to be capable of capturing and discussing digital language practices as multi-sited and trans-contextual communication processes which bring together online and offline discourse. Against this background this special interest group (SIG) focuses on the methods and methodologies in research on digital discourse in contemporary societies.

In recent approaches the benefits of direct contact and engagement with social media users through means of surveys, interviews or ethnographic participant observation are highlighted (Jones 2004; Androutsopoulos 2013; Page 2016; Varis 2016). This move towards more holistic approaches to the study of everyday languaging and digital discourse is fairly new and methods, research designs and approaches are still being developed. The further development of methodologies in the study of digital discourse is important because the ways we look at sociolinguistic phenomena and the methods we use is significant to what we see and how we perceive it (Madsen 2016). To contribute to the development of such frameworks this SIG engages with how we meet the challenge of mapping and analyzing social and linguistic practices when these unfold in trans-mediational and trans-contextual everyday encounters. The specific aims of the SIG are thus the meta-methodological evaluation of current applications and further development of methodological frameworks that are both robust and sensitive enough to address the complexities involved in these kinds of digital everyday encounters.

The overall aim of the SIG is to produce a special issue or a joint volume, addressing the themes outlined above. The SIG will meet twice.

1st meeting (duration 2 days):

  • Discussions of literature addressing the theoretical and methodological themes related to the study of digital discourse
  • Data sessions organized by the participants
  • Drafting of a special issue proposal/joint volume

Budget: 1250 euros (partly covering the travel and accommodation costs of 4-5 participants to the venue (in Copenhagen, Jyväskylä or Tilburg)

2nd meeting (duration 2 days):

  • 1st draft of papers for the special issue/joint volume will be circulated before the meeting
  • Discussion of papers

Budget: 1250 euros (travel and accommodation costs of 4-5 participants to the venue (Copenhagen/ Jyväskylä/Tilburg)

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