Special Issue of Computational Culture on “Apps and Infrastructures”
edited by Carolin Gerlitz, Anne Helmond, David Nieborg, and Fernando van der Vlist (alphabetical)
In: Computational Culture – A Journal of Software Studies, issue 7 (21 October 2019). http://computationalculture.net/issue-seven/
In this special issue editorial, we introduce a research agenda for empirical app studies. First, we introduce the three main strands of scholarship that have engaged with (mobile) apps and infrastructures so far. This enables us to position the contributions to this special issue at the cutting edge of the research on apps and infrastructures. We present our theoretical perspective on the infrastructural situatedness of apps to foreground how apps are always relational and, therefore, situated in a technological as well as social and cultural sense. From this perspective, we outline the contours of the app/infrastructure stack, which proposes to account for the hierarchical layered structure of apps and infrastructures, including their various interrelations and interdependencies. Finally, we derive six emerging research themes for future app studies based on the eight contributions included in this special issue that we hope will motivate further innovative and critical research into apps and infrastructures specifically as well as into computational culture in general.
The special issue includes numerous articles from App Studies Initiative members.
- In “Apps and Infrastructures – a Research Agenda”, the special issue editorial, Carolin Gerlitz, Anne Helmond, David Nieborg, and Fernando van der Vlist (alphabetical) introduce a research agenda for app studies that focuses on the relations between apps and infrastructures.
- In “App-ed Out: Logics of Success and Failure in App Stores”, Jeremy Wade Morris and Austin Morris investigate how rhetorics of success and logic of failure have become central to app store infrastructures and how failure is economically generative and rhetorically valuable in the app ecosystem.
- In “Regramming the Platform: Infrastructural Relations between Apps and Social Media”, Carolin Gerlitz, Anne Helmond, Fernando van der Vlist, and Esther Weltevrede (alphabetical) advance an empirical approach for examining the infrastructural relations between apps, app stores, and social media platforms, providing a critique of programmability and innovation.
- In “Dating Apps and Data Markets: A Political Economy of Communication Approach”, Rowan Wilken, Jean Burgess, and Kath Albury unravel the financial arrangements, business models, and data-sharing deals of dating apps to understand how economic value is attributed to and extracted from dating app data.
- In “Infrastructures of Intimate Data: Mapping the Inbound and Outbound Data Flows of Dating Apps”, Esther Weltevrede and Fieke Jansen advance a walkthrough method for empirically mapping the inbound and outbound flow of data in mobile dating apps and beyond.
- In “Policing through Platform”, Stacy Wood examines how policing practice, record-keeping, interface, and technological infrastructure co-constitute imaginaries around police work with a case study of the Axon platform.
- In “Less Mutable, More Mobile: The Role of Twitter Apps in the History of the Retweet Button”, Johannes Paßmann traces the central role of third-party Twitter apps in the pre-history of the retweet, providing insight into Twitter’s development as an information circulation infrastructure.
- In “Infrastructure of Vision: Envisioning the Future through Market Devices”, Théo Lepage-Richer delves into Snapchat’s business plans, patents, and technological functions to reflect on the logic and infrastructure of perception and capture in the app economy.
Read more: http://computationalculture.net/issue-seven/ (open access)
and http://computationalculture.net/apps-and-infrastructures-a-research-agenda/ (open access).