research

My research is concerned with search engine politics, the global information economy and local socio-political implications, critical theory, digital methods, and science and technology studies. Previously, I also worked on ICTs in the medical field, see my PhD below.

Currently, I’m working as a postdoc researcher at the Institute of Technology Assessment (ITA) in Vienna/ Austrian Academy of Sciences. I lead the project “Algorithmic Imaginaries. Visions & values in the shaping of search engines” (funded by the FWF; Elise Richter Program; project number: V511-G29) . A short summary can be found on the ITA website. The project will result in a “habilitation” (book) and peer-review journal articles.

Previously, I was leading the project “GLOCAL SEARCH. Search technology at the intersection of global capitalism and local socio-political cultures” (funded by the Jubiläumsfonds of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB), project number 14702) at ITA. Check out the abstract on the ITA website and the ITA newsletter (in German). These articles have been published as part of the project so far: Defining Algorithmic Ideology, TripleC (2014), Is small really beautiful?, in: Society of the Query Reader (2014); Ideologie des Algorithmus, in: Die Googleisierung der Informationssuche (2014), Search engine imaginary: Visions & values in the co-production on search technology and Europe, Social Studies of Science (2016); see publications. Here’s a short video showing my work on Algorithmic Ideology (recorded at the Digital Labor Conference, NYC, November 2014):

Astrid Mager at #DL14 http://digitallabor.org from The Politics of Digital Culture on Vimeo.

Before that, I was working as a postdoc fellow at HUMlab/ Umeå University in the far north of Sweden. I analyzed how search engines are socially shaped in capitalist society and what implications their “algorithmic ideology” triggers in search results. Two peer-reviewed articles have been published: Algorithmic Ideology, Information, Communication & Society (2012) & Technoscientific Promotion and Biofuel Policy, Media, Culture & Society (together with Jenny Eklöf, 2013); see publications.

In my PhD (download), written at the Department of Social Studies of Science, University of Vienna (where I also worked for several years), I investigated how medical knowledge is communicated between website providers and users concluding that search engines, Google in particular, play a central role in these sociotechnical practices. Drawing on the Actor-Network Theory (Latour) I conceptualized Google as an obligatory passage point (Callon) that translates between, but also crucially shapes website providers’ and users’ practices triggering new epistemic practices and demanding for new skills. All health-related publications stem from my PhD work; see publications too.

I’m also interested in the politics of methods and the performative character of digital methods more specifically. I occasionally attend conferences and workshops on this matter, as those organized by the Digital Methods Initiative, Amsterdam (Richard Rogers and colleagues).

Additionally, I teach at the Department of Science and Technology Studies and co-edit the journal Momentum-Quarterly – Zeitschrift für Sozialen Fortschritt. [Momentum Quarterly – Journal for Societal Progress]. A bilingual and peer-reviewed Open Access Journal: www.momentum-quarterly.org  ISSN: 2226-5538 (together with Leonhard Dobusch, Dennis Tamesberger & Stefanie Wöhl)

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