Tuesday, July 3, 2018

SSPS Magazine article on S-Club

I had short article for the SSPS Magazine published about S-Club, a data analysis workshop with the LCT Centre for Knowledge-Building.  You can find it: here.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Next Talk: Department of Sociology and Social Policy, Seminar Series

Next talk is the USYD's Department of Sociology and Social Policy Seminar Series.  Details here.

Constellations of Scepticism: Contesting Climate Science and Scientists on the Blogosphere.

Discussions of the role of social media in spreading ‘alternative facts’ and ‘fake news’ often centre on misinformation. Falsehoods and conspiracy theories need to be debunked. Yet, focus on misinformation alone can suggest an arena without rules or evaluative logics. This talk engages with the case study of the climate sceptic blogosphere and how they construe, construct, and contest knowledge. Analysis of the climate sceptic blogosphere, one of the first arenas of online alternative facts, suggests that there are rules that organise legitimate knowledge. The organisation of knowledge claims in this sphere hints towards an underlying worldview that makes the arrangement of some claims and stances valued and others devalued. Missing this logic leads to an analysis that falls back into a deficit model of pubic misunderstanding of science and policy that assumes high information costs underlie rejection of stabilised facts.  This case study suggests that it is the willingness to select certain facts and misinterpret others that sociology needs to explain to understand the spread and reception of alternative facts online.

Friday, March 16, 2018

LCT Roundtable: Explanatory or Axiological Power? Determining the Basis of Cosmologies in Janus-Faced Discourses

Day of the talk. (Photo credit: Kirstin WIlmont)

I have another LCT roundtable coming on - 23rd of March, 2018. 

Title: Explanatory or Axiological Power? Determining the Basis of Cosmologies in Janus-Faced Discourses

Abstract: This roundtable will explore criteria to determine if explanatory power or axiological power is the finial basis for the selection and organization of knowledge practices on the climate sceptic blogosphere.  Climate sceptic bloggers frequently engage in political and policy discussion yet insist that the core problem of climate science and policy is the weakness of the empirical and conceptual underpinnings of the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis.  Explanatory power is presented as the basis for legitimacy in climate science and climate politics, yet there is a case that the code matching of contrarian position with the mainstream position on climate science serves as a basis to contest knowledge-building and delay policy action (Toll, 2017). Glenn (2016) found that representatives from think-thanks who opposed carbon pricing did so on explicitly for ideological reasons – free market and libertarian ideals. Climate sceptics bloggers explicitly engage with the social science literature and reject these kinds of ideology driven explanations of their position and knowledge practices. On the blogosphere, the organizing principles of the climate sceptic cosmology are obscured and sensitivity needs to be paid to the construction of their epistemological and axiological constellations and how various elements are selected and evaluated.  Constellation analysis reveals tendencies that suggest axiological power and not explanatory power is the basis of climate sceptic bloggers’ cosmologies.

Glenn, E. (PhD, 2016) From Clashing to Matching: Examining the legitimation codes that underpin shifting views about climate change, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, Australia.
Toll, M. (2017) Hyper-knowledge codes: Contesting knowledge-building on the climate sceptic blogosphere, Second International Legitimation Code Theory Conference, Sydney, Australia, July.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Essay Writing Workshop

Workshop that Alexander Page and I put together for undergraduate students - also here.

LCT Roundtable

Title: Constellations of Scepticism: Contesting Climate Science with Hyper-Knowledge Codes

Mathew Toll, PhD Candidate, LCT Centre for Knowledge-Building

Abstract: Report after report assessing climate science details a growing mountain of evidence that climate change is indeed happening and that it is human caused. Considering this: how do climate sceptics maintain their scepticism? What can the LCT concept of constellations reveal about their belief systems and inform strategies of engagement with climate sceptics? This roundtable will employ constellations analysis to three central climate sceptic blogs and propose an extreme form of knowledge code that impedes knowledge-building. The climate sceptic blogosphere is a key venue for the development and distribution of climate misinformation. Recent political events have underscored the importance of understanding how climate denial is cultivated and legitimated online. Malcom Robert’s maiden speech to the Australian Senate, for instance, acknowledged the contribution to the public debate made by climate sceptic bloggers. While in the U.S. the election of Donald Trump has seen a concern with a new ‘post-truth’ politics online and an embracing of climate denial. Rather than a rejection of truth or science, central climate sceptic blogs position themselves as ‘auditors’ of climate science and demand technical competence as the basis of legitimacy, while the presence of any social features that deviate from an idealized conception of scientists is condemned. They therefore construct a form of knowledge code that establishes idealized – and potentially unattainable – standards of legitimate knowledge and knowers which provide a basis to contest knowledge without providing alternative explanatory power. Climate sceptics construct a constellation in which climate scientists are alarmist who fail to meet the norms of science, while climate sceptics defend these displaced norms with a hyper-knowledge code.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Tweeting #LCTC2

#LCTC2 on the final day
The Second Legitimation Code Theory Conference finished yesterday - for those who weren't there, here is the social media buzz on Twitter and Instagram around the conference (& here):