Professor Christine Hine
Christine Hine is a sociologist of science and technology who has a particular focus on the role played by new technologies in the knowledge construction process. She has a major interest in the development of ethnography in technical settings and in "virtual methods" (the use of the Internet in social research). In particular, she has developed mobile and connective approaches to ethnography that combine online and offline social contexts. In common with many scholars in Science and Technology Studies, Christine has a scientific and technical background herself. She studied Botany (BA, Oxon) and Biological Computation (MSc, York) and completed her DPhil in the Biology Department at York before making a transition to Sociology of Science and Technology.
University roles and responsibilities
- Chair, University Ethics Committee 2015 - 2018
Christine Hine has taken a lead role in promoting discussion of methodologies for sociological understanding of the Internet, publishing widely on qualitative methodologies for study of online cultures in everyday life. Her research is located within sociology of science and technology. She is author of Virtual Ethnography (Sage, 2000); Systematics as Cyberscience (MIT, 2008) and Ethnography for the Internet (Bloomsbury, 2015). Substantively, her research includes ethnographic studies of scientific culture, information technology and knowledge infrastructures. She has also carried out research into digital work and particularly digital volunteering; local online groups and sustainability initiatives; and knowledge construction in online spaces. She was President of the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology, 2004 to 2008.
Courses I teach on
Postgraduate research supervision
I supervise doctoral students in sociology of science and technology and studies of digital culture. Past students have included:
Narratives of identity in role-playing games. Thordis Sveinsdottir
Acceptability of web surveys for national statistics. Zoe Dowling
Enacting Controversy: An Ontological Study of the Development of Computer Encryption. Richard Fletcher
Online Support Spaces for a geographically-isolated group with specialist support needs. Jo Hope
Understanding the use of social networking sites by professional employees in the UK. Acheinu Iseko
The collection covers perspectives on the Internet as a social space; research models for the Internet and the skills, techniques and approaches needed to conduct research in a virtual environment; innovations in the research process and reflections on these innovations; and the ethical considerations to take into account when doing research on the Internet.
Making Virtual Worlds: Linden Lab and Second Life. By Thomas M. Malaby. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2009. Pp. x+165. $24.95.,American Journal of Sociology 116 (2) pp. 719-721 University of Chicago Press
In response to this challenge, this interdisciplinary collection considers the quantitative and qualitative analysis of social media, addressing the contemporary concern with 'big data' but also the rich or 'thick data' available. It provides examples of research that has sought to explore digital methods through comparing and combining these with 'offline' or traditional approaches, and presents case studies that are both innovative in their use of new, existing and combined methods but also question the nature of innovation. It also develops some of the key challenges in mainstreaming digital methods, including debates in educational research, research with young people, and the ethical issues that digital and social researchers face.
This book focuses on the process of writing qualitative Internet research, from the construction of the initial proposal to the preparation of different types of research reports, including conventional dissertations and more innovative media forms. Covering ethnographic, interview-based, and documentary analysis, The Internet offers clear guidance on the challenges and opportunities posed by the application of these approaches to Internet settings, drawing on a wide array of published examples and rooting its advice in the established principles of qualitative research. The author emphasizes the importance of reflexivity and developing awareness of the various genres of qualitative writing, together with building research reports that are significant as mainstream social research.
Although the emphasis of this book is on qualitative research, it also draws on quantitative research techniques, since the sheer wealth of data available on the Internet prompts consideration of new ways of visualizing and summarizing data. The Internet also explores initiatives by Internet researchers to make use of new media technologies for analyzing and presenting their research, and to allow for new forms of interaction with research participants and audiences.
Combining an ethnographic approach with historical review and textual analysis, Hine investigates the emergence of a virtual culture in systematics and how that new culture is entwined with the field's existing practices and priorities. Hine examines the policy perspective on technological change, the material culture of systematics (and how the virtual culture aligns with it), communication practices with new technology, and the complex dynamics of change and continuity on the institutional level. New technologies have stimulated reflection on the future of systematics and prompted calls for radical transformation, but the outcomes are thoroughly rooted in the heritage of the discipline. Hine argues that to understand the impact of information and communication technology in science we need to take account of the many complex and conflicting pressures that contemporary scientists navigate. The results of technological developments are rarely unambiguous gains in efficiency, and are highly discipline-specific.
This thesis contributes to a growing literature on tensions between human rights as a universal ethical framework and situated experiences of social activism. It advances knowledge in the burgeoning field of cross-cultural feminism within the wider debate of social inequalities. It draws in Fricker?s work on epistemic injustice to enrich our understanding of this conversation. It examines activists? accounts of how this abstract framework is implemented on the ground. The thesis explores how NGOs? perceptions of local economic, cultural and social forces have influenced characterisations of their deployment of the human rights framework.
This thesis analyses two linked datasets. The first is drawn from publicly accessible websites of a sample of NGOs in West Bengal and London, and was analysed using a text-mining application. The second dataset comprises interviews with activists from subsamples of NGOs in both countries. An analysis of the research materials identified commonalities underlying the activists? accounts of their work. In this study, two taxonomies were developed through an iterative process of grounded analysis and comparison with the literature to capture the similarities and contrasts within the research materials.
The first taxonomy was constructed to describe social activists? perceptions of their ability to deploy the human rights framework. A second taxonomy was developed to describe different orientations towards the deployment of women?s human rights. These taxonomies formed analytic frameworks framed by activists? different perceptions of the ability to engage with human rights and women?s human rights frameworks.
Previous studies on the use of the various forms of social networking sites have focused primarily on children, teenagers and young adults, usually between the ages of thirteen and twenty-five. These studies explored how young adults use these SN platforms to strengthen their social capital and manage online impressions, as well as their perception of online privacy and surveillance. While these issues may be relevant to older adults? use of social networking sites, it was proposed that using these SN platforms and, at the same time, ensuring employers? expectations are met in an unsecure and competitive labour market, might add further complexities to their experiences. Drawing on the literature on the current state of the labour market, social practices on networking sites and emotional labour with respect to conforming to employers? expectations, this present study used the theories of Goffman on dramaturgy, Hochschild and Bolton on emotion management, Standing on the precarious society, boyd on collapse contexts and networked publics, and Silverstone and Hirsch on domestication to frame the research questions, design and analysis.
Findings revealed that within this group of employees, SN platforms have not only become a vital tool to interpret and adapt to certain new features of the UK labour market, such as the increase in labour market insecurities, but have also become a site where emotional labour is performed to an extent. Surprisingly, there were many similarities in the way these participants use and incorporate these platforms, irrespective of certain demographics such as their type of profession, gender and age that were initially assumed to lead to major differences. It was observed that the majority of the interviewees experience various emotions and feel obliged to tailor, suppress and manage these emotions in the workplace and on SNSs to meet their employers?, and in some cases their colleagues and clients? expectations. This study advocates the notion that since the continuous use of social networking sites involve suppressing, tailoring and negotiating various emotions, they should be considered a site for emotional labour. In conclusion, as the labour market appears to be undergoing significant changes, it may be that other locations besides the workplace and social networking sites, where emotional management is required, may exist. As such, this study provides a foundation potentially useful to explore other complex settings where employees might perform some form of emotion management.
This thesis explores feminist women's experiences of online gendered hate: abusive, threatening or upsetting acts or comments which are often sexual, violent, or gendered in content, and which target women in public online spaces. This work draws directly on the experiences of feminist women in England and Wales, using data gathered during focus groups and interviews, and analysed within frameworks offered by feminist and hate crime scholars. The participants were feminist women who had directly received abuse themselves, or had experienced online gendered hate indirectly: through reading about this or seeing other women being targeted.
Accounts given by participants showed the importance of the internet as a space in which they could practice, perform, and develop their feminism. However this was also a world in which women experienced a continuum of abusive acts. Setting this study apart from existing research is the finding that ?mundane? behaviours (often treated as trolling) were seen as abusive and harmful by many of the participants. Using these findings, this research develops a model for conceptualising online gendered hate.
Analysis revealed that feminist women's participation in online spaces was disrupted by abusive behaviours. This thesis argues that the ways in which online abuse controls women's participation in the online world is wider than has previously been understood: women did not have to experience abuse directly to be constrained by it. In this, online gendered hate sends a message to all feminist women online about what is (and is not) appropriate performance of difference (Perry, 2001). This research examined how women attempted to fight back and resist online abuse, concluding that no one strategy was successful. Reflection is given to how the findings of this research contribute to contemporary debates on the inclusion of misogyny as a strand of hate crime in England and Wales.