School of Social and Political Science

African Studies and the Digital Revolution: the Mediatization of Research Practice

31 March 2021
16:00 - 17:30


Microsoft Teams


This paper departs from my search to understand how (new/digital) media interact with society and vice versa, especially in relation to political communication and political change. These ‘effects’ of changing media technology however, not only touch the societies that we try to understand but also the practice of ‘doing’ research. Especially in area studies, the ethnographic method, the relations with the field, with people is at the center of ‘knowing’. Hence changes in these relationships, such as caused by (digital/new) Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), will also influence the ‘data’ gathering, the insights, in short the knowledge production processes and outcomes. In this paper I present my own itinerary of research in the Sahel from 1990 to now. This is the period of 'globalization' and the introduction of digital technologies. How did the power relations between researched and researcher change? What are data in the digital age? How did knowledge ‘construction’ change? What does this mean for the interdisciplinary field of African Studies?

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Key speakers

  • Speaker: Mirjam de Bruijn (Leiden University)