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Citizen Humanities: Configuring Interpretation and Perception for Participation

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare Dick Kasperowski
Christopher Kullenberg
Publicerad i Citizen Science – Innovation in Open Science, Society and Policy 19–21 May 2016, Berlin
Sidor 26-27
Publiceringsår 2016
Publicerad vid Institutionen för filosofi, lingvistik och vetenskapsteori
Sidor 26-27
Språk en
Länkar www.ecsa2016.eu/assets/book_of_abst...
Ämnesord Citizen humanities, citizen science, interpretation, perception
Ämneskategorier Tvärvetenskapliga studier, Annan humaniora, Övrig annan humaniora


The history of volunteer participation in scientific work usually starts with ornithology in the late 19th century. Since then this practice has spread to many disciplines in the sciences. The success of such projects has to a large extent been a question of data quality and design of participatory protocols, which puts the contributor on par with the scientist as an observer of the natural world. The ability of the protocol to produce valid data, while also being inclusive enough to mobilize the volunteer contributors in large numbers, is still a challenge to citizen science (CS) projects. To enable the perceptual qualities of the contributor in mass observations, the cognitive thresholds have been kept low, thus making CS as inclusive as possible. However, with few exceptions, the humanities have not managed to facilitate broad public participation the same way as the sciences have. Nevertheless several citizen humanities (CH) projects have been launched lately on platforms such as Zooniverse, Scholars’ Lab and Micropast. As the humanities are generally associated with interpretation – a hard-earned ability acquired only through specialized studies (Bildung) – data is often perceived as inaccessible without training. Implied in hermeneutic ideals of knowledge, context is viewed as a prerequisite for informed interpretation. In this paper we are comparing how the design of participatory protocols in CS and CH are constructed, with special attention to where and how in the research process “citizen humanists” are put to work. Our empirical analysis consists of analyses of the online environments generated by a number of contemporary citizen humanities projects.

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