“This article argues that in an age of knowing capitalism, sociologists have not adequately thought about the challenges posed to their expertise by the proliferation of ‘social’ transactional data which are now routinely collected, processed and analysed by a wide variety of private and public institutions. Drawing on British examples, we argue that whereas over the past 40 years sociologists championed innovative methodological resources, notably the sample survey and the in-depth interviews, which reasonably allowed them to claim distinctive expertise to access the ‘social’ in powerful ways, such claims are now much less secure.We argue that both the sample survey and the in-depth interview are increasingly dated research methods, which are unlikely to provide a robust base for the jurisdiction of empirical sociologists in coming decades. We conclude by speculating how sociology might respond to this coming crisis through taking up new interests in the ‘politics of method’ “(Sauvage and Burrows).
Research Affiliate at MIT (Boston). Formerly, Partner and VP Innovation at OpenKnowledge http://www.open-knowledge.it/en/ | Books author and coauthor (recently published "Social Mobile Marketing", Egea 2014, 2e) | Digital theorist and international researcher | Analytics industry speaker | @cosimoaccoto | http://www.linkedin.com/in/cosimoaccoto | firstname.lastname@example.org | View all posts by Cosimo Accoto