Wednesday, March 6, 2019
I co-wrote a short piece on using computational methods in a history course. If you're interested in teaching text and data mining, digital humanities, and digital methods - you might be interested in this.
Tuesday, January 29, 2019
|Title slide for the talk.|
Title: Knowledge and Rhetoric: A Specialization Analysis of Courtroom Argumentation
To address this question, this paper employs the Specialization dimension of Legitimation Code Theory (LCT) to analyse transcripts of 20 court cases from the People’s Republic of China that involve several different types of criminal offenses. Specialization codes allow for insight into the basis of courtroom strategies, differentiating between claims that emphasize or deemphasize relations between knowledge and the object or method of study (epistemic relations) or claims that stress or downplay the importance of relations between knowledge and the author of the claim, either because of their ways of knowing or subjective characteristics (social relations) (Maton 2014:29). We apply these concepts to courtroom discourse and develop a translation device (Chen and Maton, 2016) to facilitate the Specialization analysis. We operationalize epistemic relations in terms of appeals to legal principles, processes of fact construction and interpretation; and social relations in terms of evaluation of moral character and the subjective intention of defendants.
Courtroom argumentation is orientated towards legal principles and the supremacy of the law. However, the law allows a range of strategies and the specialization analysis reveals code shifts and clashes occur in such institutional contexts. Defence lawyers and prosecutors both engage in strategies that emphasis epistemic relations and social relations, depending on the affordances of the relevant legal statutes and range symbolic resources available. Statutes that define a crime and the criteria to judge if a crime has been committed provide relatively stable technical meanings; while statutes that outline grounds for the mitigation of sentences leave more latitude for the interpretation of people. This legal context and the facts of the case provide the constraints and resources that lawyers exploit to enact different argumentative strategies. Emphasis of the law and rhetorical appeals to moral feeling are two potential paths to follow.
Despite the objectivity characteristic of legal language and judicial ideology (Bourdieu, 1986), Specialization analysis also reveals the social and axiological aspects of legal practice that are often concealed. This study offers an operational understanding of Specialization codes in legal discourse and provides a case study of social relations within a field that obscures or downplays these relations in its self-representation. These findings have implications for understanding the ideology of the judicial field in China and pedagogy that neglects the rhetorical aspects of courtroom argumentation.
Bourdieu, P. (1986). “The force of law: Toward a sociology of the juridical field”. Hastings Law Journal, 38, p.805.
Ji, W. (2017). “The ideal and path of legal education reform in China”, Legal Education in the Global Context: Opportunities and Challenges, London: Routledge, pp. 267-78.
Maton, K. and Chen, R.T, (2016) “LCT in qualitative research: creating a translation device for studying constructivist pedagogy”, Knowledge building: Educational studies in legitimation code theory, London: Routledge, pp.27-48.
Maton, K. (2014). Knowledge and Knowers: Towards a Realist Sociology of Education. London: Routledge.
Shi, C. (2017) Affiliation Through Value Negotiation in Chinese Criminal Courtroom Argumentation, PhD Thesis, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China.
Zhou, S. (2009). “The Reform Strategy of Legal Education in China”, Global Business & Development Law Journal, 22, pp. 69-73.
|Presenting the talk at LCT3, Wits University.|
Monday, January 28, 2019
I did some digging and I found a series of old essays I wrote during High School and just after published on the che-lives.com e-zine (i.e. a blog, but we were going for a digital analog of zines put out by activists and anarchist collectives). One of the last ones, "The Concepts of Alienation and Surplus value, A brief look", was my first or second sociology essay for Open Foundation at Newcastle Uni (alternative pathway into Uni). I seemed to have liked situationlists, Cyril Smith, and Non-leninist Marxists.
Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Friday, April 20, 2018
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.
References.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.
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