Language in the Age of Algorithmic Reproduction

photoFor my first blog post I thought I’d do a little sit-rep as to where I am with my research so far, why it is of interest (to me anyway), and what I hope to achieve with it. I have started this blog in the hope that it will accompany, document and inform my research, and make me write. Which is always a bonus…

I am currently 18 months into a 4 year EPSRC funded PhD. As the first year of my course was made up mostly of taught modules in the Centre for Doctoral Training in Cybersecurity, my research proper began in September 2014, and it is certainly only then than I made the decision to switch from my original research proposal to my current one. It was a big switch, but I was hugely relieved that my supervisors Pete Adey and Keith Martin stuck with me.

So my PhD working title at the moment is Language in the Age of Algorithmic Reproduction. I’m fascinated by the political and economic parallels between Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, and the potential dissolution of the integrity of language which seems to be endemic in the digital processing of words in the age of Semantic Capitalism.

Unfortunately I don’t think my PhD can support a full appropriation of Benjamin (although I am itching to write a One Way (Google) Street (View), or The Task of the (Google) Translator), and I have been wisely reminded that I need to find a disciplinary home for my thesis.

So it will be anchored in Geography. With a linguistic twist…


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