Hyperobjective Scholarship & the Social-Digital Academy

How has the ubiquity of the social-digital changed the way we carry out scholarship? Expanding on Tim Morton's concept of the hyperobject, this paper examines how the shape and scale of the social-digital can come to bear on academic research, in authorship and dissemination. "Hyperobjective scholarship" is defined as that which is intensely aware of its position within vast and complex social, technological, economic and other networks, a fact that comes to bear greatly on themes and dissemination styles across disciplines.

Some Highlights:

  • Understanding complexity makes us capable of making more informed decisions in the world, such as how systems fit together, how choices affect balances of power/resources, etc. 
  • We communicate research increasingly often using social-digital objects, or objects that are found in/on social platforms on the web (eg. Instagram feeds, Facebook albums).
  • Social-digital objects can be emotional, and this is a strength when using them as a dissemination method or educational tool. They fit within a framework of hyperobjective (not objective) analysis.
  • Analysis doesn’t need to be unemotional, but can also be usefully informed by issues of social and emotional complexity. As such social-digital can be used to engage the research community differently with issues that are inherently emotional, issue like climate change or terrorism.