BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Towards an epistemology of digitally mediated temporality: from ethics to empiricism

    Markham, Tim (2023) Towards an epistemology of digitally mediated temporality: from ethics to empiricism. Information, Communication & Society , ISSN 1369-118X (Print), 1468-4462 (Online).

    Towards an epistemology of digitally mediated temporality from ethics to empiricism.pdf - Published Version of Record
    Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

    Download (1MB) | Preview


    The aim of this article is to lay the epistemological groundwork for investigating how the digital present is experienced as present. This is significant because, given the ontological priority of the present in phenomenological inquiry, this gets us closest to capturing digitally mediated experience itself. It will be argued that this does not mean pathologizing the pervasive digitisation of everyday life, and the digital age affords researchers an abundance of resources previously unavailable or elusive. The temporal experience of the unfolding present cannot be made a direct object of conscious cognition, which raises two serious concerns. The first is the possibility that digital actants such as algorithms can intervene in, exploit and modify temporal experience in ways that fly under the radar. The second is the challenge of constructing an epistemology and empiricism up to the task of investigating such phenomena in the pursuit of ethical principles including autonomy and accountability. In theoretical terms the article takes a phenomenological approach in which the present is always ontologically prior to any notion of an origin: in short, we always begin from the experience of finding ourselves thrown into a present – including a presently embodied self – that exceeds our grasp. The experience of temporality is the unfolding of that grasping, of disclosing the world by navigating and acting in it, and that means that understanding it is not a matter of excavating or working backwards to account for how we got to where we are, but mobility from the present.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Depositing User: Tim Markham
    Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2023 06:28
    Last Modified: 27 Nov 2023 07:17


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item