The médialab, an interdisciplinary research laboratory comprised of sociologists, engineers and designers, conducts thematic and methodological research to investigate the role of digital technology in our societies.
Research at the médialab
Digital technology is transforming our societies on the whole and the production of scientific knowledge in particular. The digital turn, central to the approach developed at the médialab, calls for the articulation of three research approaches, drawn from the social sciences, engineering, and design. Through the multitude of data that it generates, the digital turn contributes to deepening our understanding of different social worlds. At the same time, it offers investigative tools that spawn new forms of knowledge production through the modelling, visualization and interactive exploration of data. Finally, it fosters experimentation with the public and students by encouraging new forms of reflexivity and new ways of sharing research results.
These research approaches are developed jointly around four main themes:
- the digital public space, mapping the transformations of journalistic and political spaces under the impact of digital technology. Research in this field focuses on new information channels, the shaping of the public agenda, and parliamentary activities;
- the environmental turn, using digital methods to explore emerging issues at the crossroads between science, politics and societal expectations;
- technological futures, adopting a Science & Technology Studies (STS) perspective to study how new artificial intelligence computation technology is penetrating our societies, investigating both the design of this technology and the effects of its increasing penetration into social realms;
- Quantitative Cultural studies which, drawing on data from museums and cultural institutions, endeavour to explore our societies’ new forms of organization of culture with respect to works and their circulation. This field of study is also concerned with cultural festivals and the production of scientific knowledge about Russia.
Every research project carried out at the médialab follows a multidisciplinary approach mobilizing a variety of competences. These projects, informed by social science and STS, apply computer engineering to refine investigation by using the Web as a field of inquiry and data science as an analytical method. They also employ new forms of situated testing and exploration of the research questions raised by design. The médialab is historically committed to studying the production and transmission of knowledge, and has experimented with new forms of teaching since its inception. This connection with students is evident in the courses taught by the members of the médialab team, and is also reflected by the research programme it hosts on innovative teaching, fully informed by the laboratory's research practices.
The médialab is a diverse research team, comprised of men and women with complementary skills. As members or partners of the laboratory, these social sciences, digital methods and design experts join forces and work together to develop research that draws on this diversity.
The médialab’s activities articulate both research and teaching. In particular, they explore the use of digital methods to address contemporary issues in sociology and STS. These methods are also central to the laboratory’s teaching, for example by putting students in research situations. This fosters highly enriching reflection on our research processes. After approval of the laboratory council, the médialab can occasionnally provide external research projects with services to implement digital methods (price list).
In addition to traditional academic publications, "Web publications" also disseminate the laboratory's activities through an interactive medium that opens up new ways of representing and visually exploring findings. Situations – exhibitions, workshops, simulations, etc. – allow for the public’s involvement in the research process and the testing of hypotheses against the reality on the ground.
Ethics and deontology
The research activities developed at médialab are in line with Sciences Po's research ethics rules and policy.
In particular, we take a strong stand to respect privacy issues. Médialab is committed to the protection of personal data which it processes for its research needs. As such, the laboratory undertakes to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 of April 27, 2016 ("GDPR") and the amended Data Protection Act (Loi Informatique et Libertés). Our projects can lead us to collect data on social networks but no information is republished other than anonymized or aggregated. Everyone can exercise their rights to access, modify, rectify or delete personal data concerning them by writing to us at the following address: medialab [at] sciencespo.fr.
In accordance with our desire for openness and transparency, the laboratory's productions are also largely distributed freely and openly, that is to say under Open Access conditions for scientific publications (see médialab on HAL and on SPIRE) and as Free Libre Open Source Software for IT developments (see the laboratory's GitHub account). In this dynamic, médialab also supports the development of software created by the Open Source community, and is a member of APRIL, association for the promotion and defense of free software.
For any inquiries, please send an email to:
medialab [at] sciencespo.fr
You can also call us:
(+33) 01 45 49 53 54
Finally, you can also write us to the following address:
Sciences Po - médialab
27, rue Saint Guillaume
75337 Paris Cedex 07