Internet
Beyond
Numbers
The Second International Conference
May, 23-24. Moscow
Organizers
The idea
The internet is all about connections, networks, data, codes, interfaces and infrastructure. And numbers. However the web is not something that can be easily converted into indexes and statistics. Rather, there is always something that stays unnoticed, something that we cannot catch, something that escapes quantitative approaches. With respect for all these approaches we suggest to focus on what is happening beyond counted reality.. This is precisely what this conference aims to do: to look at what is beyond numbers.

We will specifically focus on two themes.
The first one is the history and «prehistory» of the Internet. We plan to speak about cybernetics and Fidonet, about ideas and social relationships that created the infrastructure and design. Prehistory means inquiring what were those ideas, persons, events that determined what we now know as the Internet today. These themes were broadly discussed in major works dedicated to the history of the Internet itself (Abbate, Flichy, Mansell, Kleinrock) and in those focused specifically on the Runet (Gerovich, Abramov, Kusnetsov, Gorny, Peters). However, despite a large body of scholarship dedicated to the Internet, little is known about local cultures, narratives and practices of the Internet as they develop in particular regions or cities in Russia and worldwide. Dealing only with this broad history of the Internet is not sufficient, so we need to take into account all the diversity.
The second part of the conference is dedicated to the qualitative and mixed approaches and their use in the investigation of user practices and online environments. We aim to discuss different rituals that people create when using their gadgets and interacting on online social networks. We call the participants to pay particular attention to discourses that emerge around people's experience. The main aim of this part is to understand what role qualitative, anthropological and ethnographic approaches play among other methods and how they can be applied in internet studies. We also plan to address some more sophisticated methods like controversy analysis (Venturini) or issue mapping (Marres).
Key questions
  • The history of the internet: the development of the networks, particularly, but not exclusively in Russian cities and regions
  • The alternative networks, intranet, Fidonet: local small networks, which are difficult to measure
  • Anthropological and ethnographic studies of the internet: how to prove or refute the quantitative rates
  • Critical understanding of working with quantitative data: ethical and methodological problems
  • Mixed methods using digital tools
Possible formats
  • Sections
  • Two round tables — on the histories of the internet and on the methodology
  • Seminar on unfinished researches*
  • Workshops on mixed methods
  • Presentation of the research project «Internet in Russian cities»
  • PechaKucha of the students' projects

*We welcome not only the authors of the complete works but also researchers who have not succeed in their investigations. These participants will have an opportunity to discuss their projects, analyze them in detail in order to reveal what went wrong and what can be done in a different way.
The educational part
We have organised online school on internet studies for those who want to conduct their own research on online practices, use methods of online ethnography, make an observation, use historical approaches. All the materials of this course are available now on open access. Working language is Russian.

Our experts and tutors are the researchers from Russia and UK:
  • Daniel Miller, University College of London (UK)
  • Adi Kuntsman, Metropolitan University of Machester (UK)
  • Ilya Utekhin, European University at St. Petersburg (Russia)
  • Roman Abramov, The Higher School of Economics (Russia)
  • Nikolay Rudenko, European University at St. Petersburg (Russia)
  • Polina Kolozaridi, The Higher School of Economics, Center for Internet and Society (Russia)
The terms of participation
Please, send the annotation of your paper on .pdf or .doc format before April, 3, 23:00 (Moscow time, UTC+3). Our mail: info@internetbeyond.net. The application should be written in Russian or English and include: title, five keywords, annotation (approximately 300-500 words), information about the author: full name, position / year of study, the name of the organisation/university (a brief guide on how to write the proposal).

All applications will be reviewed. The review process will be completed on April, 15.

The participation suggests 300 rubles fee, which is optional but very valuable for us. It will be spent on food, coffee breaks and printouts.
FAQs
Is it possible to participate without making a report?
No, it isn't. However, you may take part in conference via video call.
Will there be a proceedings papers book?
We are not sure that all the persons who are interested in conference results will be able to read this kind of digest. In this case, we have decided to do it another way:

firstly, the best works will be published online as a book with ISBN
secondly,we will prepare a special issue in an appropriate journal.
If you want to become our partner or have some ideas about project, please send us letter to info@internetbeyond.net.