WHO WE ARE
Research, Education, and Community Outcomes
Our commitment to Digital Sociology training and research are embedded in the tenets of the sub-discipline that emphasize a public, social justice approach that is “about, for, and by underrepresented communities” (Bernard 2017). The Digital Sociology Lab is a research lab that provides skill-based training to students and faculty through workshops and hands-on research experience. We are dedicated to producing and disseminating rigorous research on the digital to inform policies, programs, and theories that will combat digital divides, digital inequalities, and their effects in the Richmond-area, the state of Virginia, and the broader global community. We do this through the orchestration of undergraduate and graduate student training, digital research, and dissemination of work through public events, white papers, and academic manuscripts grounded in extensive interdisciplinary collaboration among scholars, students, and global community organizations.
WHY WE MATTER
We aspire to create digital resources that identify and provide tools to remedy social inequalities. The lab’s future is a community space for exploration of questions and ideas. By continuing to pursue data justice, we envision a future where data helps inform organizations, policy makers, and the community at large. Our continued expansion of these resources provides an opportunity to challenge and evaluate the ethics practices behind data decision making. With an acknowledgement of the past, and existing initiatives, we hope to collaborate with like-minded partners to affect the future of digital equity through the capture and dissemination of information possibilities.
“We need people designing technologies for society to have training and an education on the histories of marginalized people, at a minimum, and we need them working alongside people with rigorous training and preparation from the social sciences and humanities.”
Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble, Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism
DIGITAL SOCIOLOGY LAB AT A GLANCE
Digital Sociology Values Statement:
At the Digital Sociology Lab, we are a team of explorers who seek not only to understand how inequality is reproduced in the digital world but to recognize the repercussions and outcomes of these results on marginalized individuals. To that end our organization operates with the following values in mind:
Lift Each Other: In solidarity, we show up for each other and celebrate individual and collective success. We honor those who have built this field and recognize that we are never the first.
Bless the Maintainers: we support an organization of resilience both individually and institutionally. Both individuals and the organization must survive to fight another day.
Work Toward Systemic Justice: we strive to be more inclusive and more accessible each day. This includes working our asses off to dismantle capitalist patriarchy, white supremacy, and colonialism both within ourselves and within our communities.
Uncommon Creativity: Digital Sociology is inherently problems based requiring a breadth and depth of entrepreneurial spirit. We expect our team to enhance this space through personal experience and unique perspectives.
Transparent, Open Data: Digital Data is not ours to own. It is data collected from the people. They own it and should have access to its use and benefit.
Peer Review and Reproducibility of Results: Test your model. Test it again. Ask for help. Ask for feedback. Publish. Write. Develop. Ask another question. Use the scientific method and be critical.
Impact Over Intent: First do no harm. This means that we think about others when providing feedback, results, narratives, and suggestions. “Rightness” depends on kindness.
Focus on the Outcomes: Results matter and will point our team in the direction of the inequality and oppression. Do not be afraid to find the answer. There may not be a solution but there will be a trajectory.
This set of values unites our team around a common cause and guides every new process.
OUR FUNDING IS TRANSPARENT
VCU SOCIOLOGY DEVELOPMENT GRANT