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Abstract

I had the occasion of visualising the French political Twitter just before the presidential election of 2022, in collaboration with other researchers and the journalists of the French newspaper Le Monde. In this paper, I reflect on this case in an auto-ethnographic style to open the black box of visual network analysis and expose the entangled dialogue between human expertise and computation. I contend that the visualisation’s validity does not root in mechanical objectivity because human judgement was involved at multiple levels, even though that work is not visible in the produced image itself. Like the proverbial “mechanical Turk”, a 18th century chess-playing automaton actually hiding a human player, this big data visualisation hides a reliance on man-made decisions. I first present the origin and social dynamic of this project, I document the methodology employed, I unpack what the map represents, and I explain how to read it (that section is incidentally relevant to the reader interested in French politics). I then return to the question of human judgment to expose in detail how the map was shaped by a negotiation between the journalists from Le Monde, my own research agenda, our methodological commitments, the algorithms employed, and the constraints imposed by the data themselves.

Open Access
In: Political Anthropological Research on International Social Sciences (PARISS)

Abstract

This paper empirically retraces and conceptualizes secrecy in the study of security. Building on 27 qualitative, semi-structured interviews with social scientists about their field research experiences, we use Gieryn’s concept of “boundary work” to rethink secrecy not as a self-evident separator between clearly demarcated spheres but as something that is negotiated, suspended, or circumvented in social situations. A boundary perspective allows us to highlight how contextualized social interactions draw and redraw lines between what can be known and what remains classified. Our analysis identifies three ways in which boundaries around secrecy can be expanded: fallibility, co-optation, and ambiguity. Explicating and empirically substantiating these forms of boundary work portrays secrecy as continuously performed and reconfigured. The paper contributes to current debates about field research by providing a different conceptual angle: one that favours performativity rather than individual capacity to reflect how access to security sites and actors comes into being.

In: Political Anthropological Research on International Social Sciences (PARISS)
Authors: and

Abstract

This intervention consists in a conversation between an activist-scholar engaging in research questioning the conditions facing refugees and asylum seekers in Greece and an activist leading an ngo supporting displaced people. We reflect on our own positionality working in this area and on the role of academia and the humanitarian sector more generally. We explore different approaches to knowledge production that challenge the exploitative practices associated with both academic research and humanitarianism.

Open Access
In: Political Anthropological Research on International Social Sciences (PARISS)
Free access
In: International Journal of Parliamentary Studies
In: International Journal of Parliamentary Studies

Abstract

In this paper, we summarise the key findings of the forum “Data4Parliaments” Parliamentary Data for a Better Democracy, organised by the OPTED network at the European Parliament on 15 June 2022. The aim of the conference was to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas related to sharing and analysing parliamentary text data between official archives and different user groups from the social sciences and the civil society.

Open Access
In: International Journal of Parliamentary Studies
Author:

Abstract

Since the imposition of lockdowns or restrictions on social mobility in response to pandemics in 2020, the operations of many governments have undergone a radical transformation. Indonesia’s compliance with the new health protocols did not stand out as exceptional in this regard. This article investigates how and to what extent the Indonesian Parliament utilized ict during the pandemic, as well as the future viability of ict as a legislative tool. This article argues that the Parliament’s use of ict during the pandemic improved its effectiveness, efficiency, and openness in carrying out its responsibilities. In addition, the number of mp s in attendance – albeit virtual – increased. This article suggests that appropriate regulation is required to authorize the use of ict in legislative activities and that trained human resources are necessary to address cyber-related errors resulting from external threats. Additionally, the adoption of ict should not be limited to digitizing legislative activities. It must be founded on the institution’s core business.

In: International Journal of Parliamentary Studies

Abstract

This article interrogates the issue of the role of the legislature in social emergencies such as the covid-19 pandemic by examining the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on the legislature and the response of the legislature, using the Nigerian federal legislative institution (the National Assembly) as a case study. The aim is to distil some of the key legislative issues that have emerged since the spread of the virus to Nigeria, the challenges the legislature has faced, which have shaped its efforts to respond to the covid-19 problem, and the efforts of the legislature to address the problem. The article notes that Nigeria’s federal legislature, and indeed all legislatures, have to innovate with new ideas, technology and procedural flexibility in the performance of their traditional functions in order to ensure political accountability and remain relevant in times of emergency.

In: International Journal of Parliamentary Studies

Abstract

This is a report on the 15th Workshop of Parliamentary Scholars and Parliamentarians that took place over the weekend of 30–31 July 2022 in Wroxton, Oxfordshire, in the United Kingdom. Scores of scholars, practitioners, and Members of Parliament (mp s) from around the world gathered once again at the event’s remarkable venue, the Wroxton Abbey, for a two-day practical exchange on issues around parliamentary development and reforms. This time, the Workshop focussed on the state-of-play of and new concepts for strengthening public engagement in the democratic process. Moreover, the greater event constitutes a forum of international professional exchange between parliamentary practitioners and scholars and the sharing of best-practice, with the overall goal of promoting positive change and improvements to the efficiency, transparency, representation and therefore legitimacy of parliaments. The report captures the highlights, lessons-learned, and expectations from a memorable event that set the stage for further research and policy activities.

In: International Journal of Parliamentary Studies

Abstract

The outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic forced many parliaments to ensure business continuity through the digitalisation of its activities. That was the case of the European Parliament, which held its first plenary session with remote electronic participation on 26 March 2020 and continued to work remotely until March 2022. During those two years, Parliament’s Rules of Procedure were changed, new videoconferencing tools and remote voting solutions were developed and parliamentary procedures were adapted to the new working methods. The digitalisation of parliamentary proceedings allowed the European Parliament to continue working during the crisis and can be praised for that. However, remote electronic participation is often criticised for its impact on parliamentary procedures and the way parliaments exercise their core functions. This paper proposes to look into the European Parliament’s experience during the pandemic in order to better assess the positive aspects and drawbacks of introducing remote working methods in legislatures.

In: International Journal of Parliamentary Studies