Social Data Journalism with Pharo

I am assistant professor and researcher in Communication studies at the University of Burgundy in Dijon. My researches are mostly focused on the evolution of social mobilisation and citizen engagement at the age of the Internet. I try to better understand the impacts of digital practices on the emerging and building processes of social critique.

I have recently worked on a new research exploring the on line political debate and collective action forms hosted in the Discord channels supporting the political mouvement « La France Insoumise ». This community acts autonomously in the margins of the official political organisation. It was not the first time I was working on the ethnographic observation of an on line political community and dealing with a huge amount of data. But this time I had the chance to experiment the potentialities of Pharo system applied to the Social Sciences research. Esteban Lorenzano developed a Pharo tool that he ironically called « Record » as it is able to Record the Discord.

Still experimental, this tool allows the researcher to store different channels of debates and to update them by a simple click without opening the Discord platform. Moreover, it can index the posts by date, author or semantic fields. It is really an amazing tool for creating and analyzing on line corpora by avoiding the tedious manual importing activities. It allows you to easily and quickly import pertinent data, identify the whole content published by a single author or dealing with a specific issue. It can also help you in working with statistics of words or other types of discourse analysis methods.

The first results of this project have been presented in the paper « La politique aux marges du parti : enquête sur les débats numériques des militants de la France Insoumise » at the Conference « La politique autrement, innovations citoyennes et défiance partisane » that took place the 12th and the 13rd of October 2017 at the « Maison des Sciences de l’Homme » in Dijon.

The work is still on going and we are figuring out new functionalities and new synergies between the Open Source and the Social Sciences universe. Informatics can serve social purposes and critical thought :)

Thanks Pharo !

Paola Sedda.

24 February 2018
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