Forthcoming seminar: ‘Network analytic approaches to the production and propagation of literary and artistic value’

I’ve just received details of my forthcoming seminar, ‘Network analytic approaches to the production and propagation of literary and artistic value’, at the Centre for e-Research (CeRch) at King’s College London. It will take place at 6.15pm on Tuesday 1 October in the Anatomy Museum Space on the 6th floor of the King’s Building at the main KCL campus on the Strand. As you can see from the abstract, the focus will be on methodology and its theoretical implications (my approach emerges from Bourdieu’s sociology but employs social network analysis: two things that are often assumed to be in opposition). However, I’ll be illustrating everything with details from my empirical research on interactive fiction and a couple of other ongoing projects where I also look at relationships between cultural producers (early 20th century authors probably; contemporary visual artists possibly; maybe also something on electronic musicians). I may find time to talk about the specific digital tools that I’ve been using (for those who care about such things: Python 2.7, NetworkX, PyGraphviz).

This seminar is an exciting opportunity for me, because while some of the work I’ll be talking about should be in print relatively soon, I haven’t discussed it in public since my paper at the Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA) conference in Malta, 2012 (my more recent paper on interactive fiction was closely related, but the focus was on the aesthetics and social history of the form, rather than on the production of its value). I also feel that this is a really exciting time to be working in the sociology of culture. The Great British Class Survey this spring created a huge amount of discussion (not all of it especially well informed), and my particular research focus for the last few years (i.e. the social and institutional (re)production of belief in the value of particular forms of culture) has indirectly and unintentionally been given relevance by a certain AHRC call that went out around Easter: naturally, I have misgivings about some of the apparent assumptions behind that call, but I’m looking forward to what may be unusually frequent opportunities to express those misgivings!

Attendance at the seminar will be free, and a recording should also be available online. If you’re reading this and I haven’t met you yet (or, for that matter, if I have) – it would be great if you could make it.