November 2021

Absence is another word for...  

In ETHOSLab, we have long been thinking about presence and absence with data, whether data in a black box (Gahoonia et. al, 2020) or what is revealed when parts of policy are erased through poetry (Douglas-Jones & Cohn, 2018).* Current work is continuing to nuance the binary thinking of presence/absence within research and knowledge productions. 

On Monday, November 22nd 12.00-14.00, Katrine M. Kjær, Mace Ojala & Line Henriksen will host a seminar on missing data activating their own, the panelists’, and the participants’ histories with data not being where we thought it would. We hope that our creation would provide us some clues to the questions we had in mind, but sometimes we thought our creations would consist of elements that are simply not there. 

In reckoning what is not there, we stumble across other information. We are given clues to why this method might not be able of providing us with the information we thought it could, or are pushed us towards other questions worth looking into.
 Attending to what is not there, might oddly enough turn absences to a highly rich material. 

Absence is presence of something else ; absence is glitches ; absence is deliberate silence ; absence is cancellation ; absence is looking in another direction ; absence is a found which is not yet named

Working with digital methods, ideas about reliability and control can led us to think that we can assert over our material. The optimism that sometimes is embedded in scraping might lead us overestimate what we will be able to find. But as our intern, Jasmin, is also realising - and writing about in her blogpost - an absence of coherence in ethnographic work can also constitute a challenge.

Then, on December 10, 09.00-14.00, the Lab is part of organizing a panel and workshop hosted as part of Simy Kaur Gahoonia’s PhD project, on imaginaries of Denmark’s digital future through technological pedagogies. Creating what is not yet there by activating the “tech savvy youth".

This work with absence, erasure and deletion resonates more broadly with scholarship currently in STS and critical data studies. A few weeks ago, Francis Lee spoke on work in progress at the TiP Salon, where the makings of the pandemic allured to the backstage of absence and presence; a backstage of political decisions and normative assumptions. Lee unfolded what was actually at play when WHO declared that there is not any available data from a specific country during the Zika virus outbreak.The lack of data turned out to have a rich history of choices, assumptions, estimations, hypothesis, which is not visible in the frontstage presence of an absence.

With hopes of finding some joy in what’s absent – enjoy your Novembers.

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Co-heads of Lab: Marisa Cohn & Rachel Douglas-Jones
Lab Manager: Merethe Riggelsen Gjørding



* Douglas-Jones, R.C and M. Cohn (eds). 2018. GDPR: Deletion Poems. Ethos Lab, IT University of Copenhagen.


Seminar: Argh, where's my data?!

November 22, 12.00-14.00⎟ITU, ETHOS Lab

In recent years, automated data collection driven or supported research methods have gained popularity within the social sciences and humanities. With this increase in popularity, it becomes ever more pertinent to consider how to engage with digital data, and how both engagement and data are situated, messy, and contingent.
Join a seminar 
facilitated by Mace Ojala, Line Henriksen & Katrine Meldgaard Kjær on missing data, and bring your own experiences for not finding the data you thought would be there, and how that affected you and the research process.

Sign up: write to by November 15.


Workshop & panel: Critical technological pedagogies as future making

December 10, 9:00-14:00 (lunch included) ⎟ITU, ScrollBar

The many decisions that go into building a learning environment for critical reflection on digital technologies include developing syllabi and learning exercises, creating spaces for formal and informal education, making choices of coding languages in coding clubs, etc. The workshop will explore how the critical technological pedagogies we design take up youth as a site for imagining Denmark’s digital future. We will do this through a combination of storytelling and prototyping around “figures” that draw together ideals and values for the future. Participants will be invited to bring reflections on their teaching or education research experience.


• Samantha Breslin, Anthropology, Copenhagen University

• Peter Danholt, Culture and Communication, Aarhus University

• Josef Nguyen, Critical Media Studies, University of Texas Dallas

Sign up: write to


Blogpost: The Limits of Conducting Ethnographical Research

By: Jasmin Katharina Shokoui

During my internship at ETHOS Lab, I witnessed this return to the office, and the strain it has produced. This directed me to carry out a research project on ‘digital detox’ practices and imaginaries. As ETHOS Lab was organising events about practising digital self-care, I decided to use the opportunity to conduct a participant observation. It seemed fun to participate in exciting events and use the observations as the data for my research project. Mostly, though, I wanted to learn more about ethnographic fieldwork by experiencing the research process first-hand. As you can probably guess, lessons were learned, and I learned the hard way


PhD & Job Calls

Postdoc Research Project Democratic Innovations in a Green Transition: “Democratic Innovations in a Green Transition” examines the impact of Denmark’s Citizens’ Climate Assembly on the Danish political system. The overall research question is: In what way might the assembly strengthen support for green transition policies, and to what extent will it affect existing channels for public debate and democratic decision-making? DIGT aims to answer these questions through a new framework that combines the study of deliberative democracy with affect theory, new materialism, and science and technology studies (STS). Deadline: December 1

PhD fellowship position in health and technology, connected to ADEPT:   ADvanced hEalth intelligence and brain-insPired Technologies (ADEPT) is an interdisciplinary initiative across faculties and professions at OsloMet. In this project, the group seeks to connect different data sources (symptoms, function, biology, and brain activity data) to develop new technology for health services. The position advertised here will focus on brain mechanisms that are believed to be effective in preventing and treating depression in adults. Deadline: December 12

Postdoc position in computational social science with a focus on scientific elites: The Postdoc will collaborate with Associate Professor Mathias Wullum Nielsen and team members from Aarhus University on the project “Scientific Elites”, funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark. A project description is available here: As part of a small research team, the postdoc will help lead efforts in developing and maintaining large-scale relational databases of science-related data and designing and conducting network analyses of gate-keeping mechanisms and social stratification in science. Deadline: January 1


ETHOS LAB Open Hours 

Lab TA Mace and Lab Manager Merethe are now in Lab lab during open hours:

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10.00-14.00.

Come by for a chat, some support on your project, or to work in the space!