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New paper: Multi-Situated App Studies: Methods and Propositions

Multi-Situated App Studies: Methods and Propositions

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As their first major contribution to the new App Studies Initiative, Michael Dieter and Nate Tkacz are delighted to share a new co-authored piece with colleagues in Amsterdam and Siegen. Published in Social Media and Society, the piece outlines new methodological terrain for the study of phone apps.

Abstract: This article discusses methodological approaches to app studies, focusing on their embeddedness and situatedness within multiple infrastructural settings. Our approach involves close attention to the multivalent affordances of apps as software packages, particularly their capacity to enter into diverse groupings and relations depending on different infrastructural situations. The changing situations they evoke and participate in, accordingly, make apps visible and accountable in a variety of unique ways. Therefore, engaging with and even staging these situations allows for political-economic, social, and cultural dynamics associated with apps and their infrastructures to be investigated through a style of research we describe as multi-situated app studies. This article offers an overview of four different entry points of enquiry that are exemplary of this multi-situated approach, focusing on app stores, app interfaces, app packages, and app connections. We conclude with nine propositions that develop out of these studies as prompts for further research.