School of Design Strategies economic sociologist and Associate Director of the MS SDM Dr. Koray Caliskan and his team won a prestigious research grant from the Economic and Social Research branch (ESRC) of the United Kingdom Research and Innovation Council. The project will cost 720,000.00 USD and will be funded by the ESRC. Caliskan will join Donald MacKenzie (PI) and Charlotte Rommerskirchen, both from the University of Edinburgh, together with research assistants and post-doctoral colleagues, to carry out socio-economic research on Online Advertising and its Data, Materiality, Systematicity and Power.

 

Caliskan described their project as follows: “Online advertisement is now financing the entire internet. Yet there is very limited research on its economic and sociological universe. Our team, led by one of the top economic sociologists of our times, Don MacKenzie, will shed some light on digital advertisement universe by opening its “the hood” to examine its (search) engines, its transformation from a mere ‘renting’ of space on websites to today’s real-time ad auctions, data generation strategies, and infrastructural design considerations. We will examine how and why advertising technology takes the material forms that it does, including the effects of material constraints, and investigate the relationship of advertising’s materiality to diverse forms of power and politics, such as the market power of the field’s giants such as Google and Facebook. We believe that it is now even more important than the past to have a transdisciplinary research framework to understand realities that do not recognize our disciplinary silos. That’s why we will draw on design considerations, social research and technical analysis to make sense of the economic sociological universe of digital advertising. I will co-lead with Don the part of the research on US platforms and their ad works, and Charlotte will focus on the political aspects of digital ads. We are very excited to start out this three years long journey with many difficult questions to offer hopefully a few satisfactory answers.

 

A big congratulations to Koray!