Datafied Society Summer School

Imagined Communities: Datafication and Governmentalities

Date: July 3-6, 2018
Time: 10.00 – 17.00
Venue: Utrecht Data School, Utrecht University: Drift 25, Room 204
Open to: PhD’s and rMA’s
Fee: 275 euros
Credits: 3 ECTS
Coordination: Gerwin van Schie –
Organization: Datafied Society Research Hub, Utrecht University
Registration: Register here

Maximum participants in the event: 16
Minimum participants in the event: 8
Register before: May 25, 2018

An “imagined community” is a group of people that shares an understanding of being part of a nation even though the group is too large for all members to be able to know each other, hence “imagined” (see Anderson 2006). In a “datafied society” (Schäfer and van Es 2017) a large part of this imagining happens on a great variety of platforms (Van Dijck 2013), both by members of a host state in the form of nationalist discourses (see de Winkel and Wieringa 2018; Muis et al. 2018) and by diasporic communities that connect with each other and keep in touch with their homelands (see Leurs and Ponzanesi 2018). In addition to the online practices of groups that share a history, governments and institutions also categorize and determine policies based on national, racial and ethnic formations. Again distinctions are made between nativist groups or original populations and immigrant groups (see Boersma and Schinkel 2015; Yanow, Van der Haar, and Völke 2016). These governmentalities (Foucault 2010) are not only representations of the social, economic and cultural positions of populations, but increasingly determine the lives of people through automated means (see for recent examples: Dijstelbloem and Meijer 2011; Cheney-Lippold 2017; Eubanks 2018; Noble 2018).

During this summer school, we aim to critically investigate the digital means by which imagined communities shape themselves and are shaped by (commercial) platforms, institutions and governments through processes of datafication. We are interested both in research on suitable methodologies and in case studies on datafied communities, institutions, and systems.

Morning Speakers


Keynote: Prof. dr. Dvora Yanow – Race-Ethnic Categorization in the Netherlands and The United States
Case Study: Gerwin van Schie – Race-Ethnic Indicators in Governmental Data Systems in the Netherlands


Keynote: dr. Thomas Poell – The Platform Society
Case Study: Tim de Winkel & Maranke Wieringa – Online News Dispersion and Nationalist Discourse by Campaigning Dutch Politicians


Keynote: dr. Koen Leurs – Digital Migration Studies
Case Study: Natalia Sanchéz Querubín – Connected Routes: Migration Studies with Digital Devices and Platforms


Excursion: dr. Karin van Es – Mapping datafication with a “Data Walk”

Afternoon Panel Chairs

Dr. Karin van Es
Dr. Ingrid Hoofd
Dr. Mirko Tobias Schäfer


Tuesday, July 3

09.30 – 10.00                      Coffee

10.00 – 12.30                      Invited speaker(s) with discussion/questions

12.30 – 13.30                      Lunch break

13.30 – 15.00                      Presentations with responses and discussion

15.00 – 15.30                      Coffee

15.30 – 17.00                      Presentations with responses and discussion


Wednesday, July 4

09.30 – 10.00                      Coffee

10.00 – 12.30                      Invited speaker(s) with discussion/questions

12.30 – 13.30                      Lunch break

13.30 – 15.00                      Presentations with responses and discussion

15.00 – 15.30                      Coffee

15.30 – 17.00                      Presentations with responses and discussion


Thursday, July 5

09.30 – 10.00                      Coffee

10.00 – 12.30                      Invited speaker(s) with discussion/questions

12.30 – 13.30                      Lunch break

13.30 – 15.00                      Presentations with responses and discussion

15.00 – 15.30                      Coffee

15.30 – 17.00                      Presentations with responses and discussion


Friday, July 6

09.30 – 10.00                      Coffee

10.00 – 12.30                      Data Walk

12.30 – 13.30                      Lunch break

13.30 – 15.00                      Two Presentations with responses and discussion

15.00 – 15.30                      Coffee

15.30 – 17.00                      Presentations with responses

17.00 – 21.00                      Drinks and pizza at Utrecht Data School

Preparation and readings:

We expect all participants to hand in a paper or chapter draft (+/- 5000 words) three weeks in advance of the summer school (deadline June 15, 2018) and prepare a response (500-750 words in writing) for one of the other participants (to be handed in in writing during the summer school). You are assigned a paper to review in the week after June 15.

Furthermore, we expect participants to read assigned literature as preparation for the morning keynotes and case studies. Literature will be announced after registration.

Credits & certificate

Certificates of participation and credits are available upon request after the event. Event coordinators will decide whether the participant has fulfilled all requirements for the ECTS. To prevent credits to be registered twice, each participant will be assigned to receive credits from either RMeS or NOG. Note: the certificate itself is not valid as ECTS, you need to validate it yourself at your local Graduate School.


Workshop: Media Sports and World Building

Media Sports and World Building

A workshop / Master class of the ASCA Cross-Media Research group in cooperation with Arts and Culture, VU)

25 June 2018, 13-19h

Location: UvA Library, Vondelzaal (Singel 425, 1012 WP Amsterdam; )
Registration: (See details below)

The media discourse of competitive sports contributes some of the most consistent and powerful world-building dynamics to the constantly changing cross-media landscape. The serialized and repetitive organization of its competitions guarantees an endless stream of interrelated events, and the evaluation of performances provokes ongoing investigations and contested narratives about heroes and villains. While each sport offers its own characteristic spaces and characters, they all share an emphasis on the particular rules that structure behavior within their specific worlds, rules that aim to create a level playing field that is clearly differentiated from the surrounding ‘reality’.So far, ‘world building’ has mainly been described as a branding strategy (and fan practice) dealing with works of fiction. Yet, sports also offer a highly dynamic and complex set of elements with their own logic and mythology. All media – from newspapers, radio, and film to television, social media, and smartphones – contribute to this world of sports to attract and monetize eyeballs, activating their specific capabilities to extend the already existing world with additional details and alternative perspectives. While narrative is important, the world building in sports includes other elements as well: rankings and records, data visualizations and memorabilia, medical reports and legal contracts, for instance. Because of sports’ character as a global commercial enterprise, its world building is closely entangled with questions of copyright and the appropriation of the latest technology. And while the media discourse often presents sports as a world of its own, it connects to, and impacts on, the world beyond its delineated space (just like all world building does).

In this workshop, we present several case studies with which we analyze how different media and their specific technological and economic affordances harvest, extend, or modify the world-building dynamics of modern competitive sports, asking how the entanglement of sports and media practices generate narratives, characters, events, visuals, controversies, and real-world (legal, technical, political) effects.

13:00-13:30 Welcome – Sebastian Scholz (VU), Markus Stauff (UvA)

13:30-14:50 Panel 1

  • Politics before kick-off? Mapping controversies on Twitter about the 2018 FIFA World Cup
    Carlos d’Andréa (Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil; visiting scholar at the UVA)
  • The Visual Worlds of Extreme Sports
    Florian Hoof (Center for Advanced Studies ‘Media Cultures of Computer Simulation’ at Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany)

15:15-17:15 Panel 2

  • Televised Football: Race/Ethnicity and Whiteness in Content, Production, Reception
    Jacco van Sterkenburg (Rotterdam University)
  • Data Worlds and Media Sports
    Markus Stauff (University of Amsterdam)
  • Transmedia Strategies in Journalism. An analytical model for the news coverage of planned events
    Lorena Tárcia (Centro Universitario de Belo Horizonte, Brazil)

17:30-18:30 Evening Lecture

  • “The Super Fight”: Muhammad Ali and the Cultural Politics of Closed-Circuiting Boxing Exhibition
    Travis Vogan (School of Journalism & Mass Communication and the Department of American Studies at the University of Iowa, USA)

Invited speaker: Travis Vogan, Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Iowa. He researches the intersections among sport, media, and U.S. culture with a special focus on television, media industries and institutions, documentary, and the relationship between commerce and cultural value. Next to numerous articles he published the following books:

  • Keepers of the Flame: NFL Films and the Rise of Sports Media (University of Illinois Press 2014)
  • ESPN: The Making of the Sports Media Empire (University of Illinois Press 2015)

His current book project, ABC Sports: The Rise and Fall of Network Sports Television, uses the American Broadcasting Company’s influential sports TV division to outline the development, politics, and transformation of sports television from the 1950s through the early 2000s.

The workshop is open to all interested scholars, PhD- and MA-students. RMa and PhD students who want to earn 1 ECTS can either contribute a presentation (15 minutes) or a report on the event (800-1000 words).


RMeS Network Event: “How do you… Disconnect in a Digital Age?”

Date: 25 April 2018, 13.00-16.00 (followed by drinks)
Venue: Utrecht University [room to be confirmed]


In line with the previous editions of the RMeS Network Event – which covered such themes as methodology, (re)writing, and academic communication – this year we will focus on “How do you… disconnect in a digital age?”

Digital detox holidays, phone stacking dinners, virtual suicide, a year without Internet.
In a culture obsessed with social networking, participation and connectivity, to disconnect has come to mean going off-line: to reclaim presence in the physical world; to revitalize face to face communication; to salvage the actual over the virtual; to (temporarily) obliterate one’s online identity. To disconnect signals a desire to re-connect: with one’s off-line identity, with friends, with the spiritual values of life, with one’s natural environment, with the world at large. Disconnectivity thus bespeaks connectivity, and vice versa.

During this years’ RMeS Network Event, Pepita Hesselberth will engage with you in a discussion on paradox of disconnectivity in the digital age, taking the “Data Detox Kit” – as well as academic life itself – as a case in point.

For the eager reader:

Pepita Hesselberth is Lecturer in Film and Literary Studies and Digital Media, at Leiden University. She is the author of Cinematic Chonotopes (Bloomsbury 2014), and co-editor of volumes on Compact Cinematics (Bloomsbury 2016) and Legibility in the Age of Signs and Machines (Brill 2018). She is currently finalizing her project on Disconnectivity in the Digital, for which she received a fellowship from the Danish Council for Independent Research, and was appointed as a research fellow at the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies at the University of Copenhagen (2015-2018). For more info see here.

The purpose of the annual RMeS Network Event is to stimulate the exchange of ideas between PhD and RMa students of different universities in light of a topical theme and/or practice relevant to (junior) media researchers.

PhD defence Tom Slootweg (University of Groningen)

Resistance, Disruption and Belonging: Electronic Video in Three Amateur Modes

Date: Monday, April 9, 2018, 16:15
Venue: Aula of the Academy Building (University of Groningen), Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Promoters: Prof. H.B.M. Wijfjes and Dr. S.I. Aasman

On Monday April 9, 2018 at 16:15, Tom Slootweg will defend his doctoral thesis Resistance, Disruption and Belonging. The thesis returns to the period before the explosive rise of YouTube. The slow introduction of video as a consumer media technology, from the mid-1960s onwards, set in motion a long phase during which expectations were rife with video’s potential for everyday users in terms of participation and media democratisation. This particular era has been largely ignored in Dutch media history. In this thesis the gap is filled and it is revealed that video was able to capture popular imagination for a considerable amount of time during the second half of the twentieth century. By studying a wide array of sometimes forgotten sources, from official as well as private archives, a new picture emerges of a turbulent time in which the possibilities of video were understood in various ways. With three case studies of distinct historical amateur media practitioners, it is shown that video acquired meaning in terms of “resistance,” “disruption” and “belonging.” The thesis successively discusses a progressive video collective from The Hague, a traditional amateur film club in Groningen and a Dutch expat family in the Middle East. Whereas the idealistic collective claimed video to bring about socio-political change, and to give a voice to the under-represented, outspoken members of the amateur film club regarded the use of video as a threat to the cherished hobby and the spirit of community. The expat family, in contrast, saw many new possibilities in video to capture the dynamic of the family, in sound and vision, against the backdrop of a foreign environment that became their new, temporary home.

This doctoral research has been carried out in the context of the research project “Changing Platforms of Ritualized Memory Practices: The Cultural Dynamics of Home Movies”, funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). It entailed a collaboration between Maastricht University, the University of Groningen and the University of Luxembourg, as well as various partners from the field of cultural heritage in the Netherlands and abroad.

For more information about this research project, see the weblog: You are cordially invited to attend the public defense, which will take place at the aula of the Academy Building (Broerstraat 5, Groningen). After the ceremony you are welcome for a drink at the Grand Theatre (Grote Markt 35, Groningen) between 17:30 and 18:30.

In case you have any questions, or would like to receive a digital copy of the thesis, please contact the paranymphs via:

Symposium: The politics of memory and platforms

29 March 2018
University of Groningen
Registration: Send an e-mail to: and


This one-day symposium revolves around the question how the politics of memory are today increasingly interwoven with the politics of social media platforms. Social media such as YouTube, Facebook, and Wikipedia are not only platforms for content sharing and consumption, social networking, and knowledge production. They can also be conceived of as vast archives that simultaneously hold and construct our mediated personal, public, social, political, and collective memory. They are both containers and filters of our past. The aim of the symposium is to problematize social media platforms as such “platforms of memory.” The symposium precedes Rik Smit’s defence of the dissertation: Platforms of Memory: Social Media and Digital Memory Work.


University Museum Groningen
Oude Kijk in Het Jatstraat 7A
9712 EA Groningen


9.30 Doors open and coffee

10.00-10.15 Welcome by Marcel Broersma (U of Groningen)
10.15-10.30 Introduction by Rik Smit (U of Groningen)
10.30-10.45 Andrew Hoskins (U of Glasgow): “Digital Forgetting”
10.45-11.00 Q&A
11.00-11.15 Christine Lohmeier (U of Bremen): “Keep it or delete it? – Practices of personal digital archiving”
11.15-11.45 Roundtable discussion and Q&A

11.45-13.00 Lunch break

13.00-13.15 Huub Wijfjes (U of Groningen): “Creating sustainable online memories: The quest for public service web archives”
13.15-13.30 Q&A
13.30-13.45 Susan Aasman (U of Groningen): “Ritualised memory practices versus YouTube’s home mode”
13.45-14.15 Roundtable discussion and Q&A
14.15-14.25 Concluding remarks by Marcel Broersma (U of Groningen)

14.25-14.45 Coffee, cake and chatting

16.00-17.00 Public PhD defence Rik Smit

17.00 Reception at Academy building