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  1. This is an eloquent and powerful statement with which I largely agree. One flaw is the cliché that “Research acts are thus always political acts, regardless of whether the researcher themselves is aware of this.” The argument that all research is political in the sense that the decision to do apolitical research is itself inherently political is one of those steps too far that obscures an important dimension of difference, i.e., between research like my own current project which combines social network analysis on a large dataset with historical and ethnographic research to better understand the world of award-winning advertising creatives in the period 1981 to 2006 but advocates no policy position whatsoever and, for example, that conducted on behalf of microtargeting voters during political campaigns. Aiming for absolute universality the argument becomes vacuous.

    P.S. If citations are included in a blog post, said post should be accompanies by a list of references.

    Otherwise, great job. I have taken the liberty of posting the links in several anthropology-related groups on Facebook.

    • Thank you, I’m glad you found it of some interest.

      My aim was simply to highlight the promise of new computational social science methods and to point out that every aspect of the research process rests on certain assumptions which ought to be recovered and made explicit by researchers, as much for their own understanding as for others. If we can begin to marry the advanced computational techniques on the horizon with a greater degree of researcher reflexivity, there is potential going forward for genuine understanding of social phenomena.

      The reason there is no reference list at the end of this piece is simply a matter of convention for this particular blog site. I have previously published here with a reference list, but have been informed that the preference now is for hyperlinks embedded in the text, rather than a list at the end. Hopefully they’re easy enough to follow, should anyone be inclined to do so.

      And thanks for sharing the piece. I hope your colleagues and/or students find it useful as well.

  2. “cultural software”? what is the supposed means of coding/programming, distribution, uptake/transmission, and coordination/updating of this?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Park_Turner

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