Hidden Power: Innovative Methods for Researching Power in a Post-Snowden Era
Since Edward Snowden’s 2013 revelations of the US and UK governments’ mass surveillance activities (and cooperation of technology industries), we arguably live in a different techno-cultural period, to which our research methodologies must respond. New methods are needed to examine issues of transparency, trust, accountability and privacy; particularly for those who research political elites, social movements and activism.
This workshop will to bring together experts who have achieved rare success in accessing ‘hidden data’ - from the deep web to terrorism suspects and elite ‘experts’. We will explore themes such as information security, surveillance and researcher safety; academic independence; ethical and methodological challenges of methods like interviewing and ethnography of elites. Discussions will highlight the main ethical, methodological and security challenges raised when researching power in a post-Snowden society - especially the role of commercial and governmental elites in a contemporary environment of increased state secrecy; commercial and state mass surveillance; and societal forced transparency, and explore and develop methodological approaches to dealing with these problems including information security solutions for researchers and innovative methods of accessing and analysing data and sources for the digital era.