The standard of papers nominated for this inaugural award was incredibly high. The European Chapter is excited by the high quality of research stemming from Europe. Please join us in congratulating the winners
Best European Paper 2023
Title: Google Search and the creation of ignorance: The case of the climate crisis
Authors: Jutta Haider,Swedish School of Library and Information Science, University of Borås, Boras, Sweden; Malte Rödl, Division of Environmental Communication, Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
Abstract: The article examines the relationship between commercial search engines, using Google Search as an example, and various forms of ignorance related to climate change. It draws on concepts from the field of agnotology to explore how environmental ignorances, and specifically related to the climate crisis, are shaped at the intersection of the logics of Google Search, everyday life and civil society/politics. Ignorance refers to a multi-facetted understanding of the culturally contingent ways in which something may not be known. Two research questions are addressed: How are environmental ignorances, and in particular related to the climate crisis, shaped at the intersection of the logics of Google Search, everyday life and civil society/politics? In what ways can we conceptualise Google's role as configured into the creation of ignorances? The argument is made through four vignettes, each of which explores and illustrates how Google Search is configured into a different kind of socially produced ignorance: (1) Ignorance through information avoidance: climate anxiety; (2) Ignorance through selective choice: gaming search terms; (3) Ignorance by design: algorithmically embodied emissions; (4) Ignorance through query suggestions: directing people to data voids. The article shows that while Google Search and its underlying algorithmic and commercial logic pre-figure these ignorances, they are also co-created and co-maintained by content producers, users and other human and non-human actors, as Google Search has become integral of social practices and ideas about them. The conclusion draws attention to a new logic of ignorance that is emerging in conjunction with a new knowledge logic.
Read more! https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/20539517231158997
Best European Student Paper 2023
Title: "I Try to Find a Balance": Investigating Strategies for Self-Regulating Covid News Consumption
Authors Corina Zappia & Stephann Makri, City, University of London, UK
Student author: Corina Zappia
Abstract: Excessive news consumption during global crises (e.g., through regularly monitoring fast-moving developments), can result in information fatigue and anxiety. Indeed, research has highlighted dangerous risks to mental wellbeing from "over-consumption" of Covid-related news. While prior research has examined how people find Covid-related information and sometimes avoid it to prevent overwhelm, no existing studies have investigated how people leverage information seeking, encountering and avoidance (often in concert) to self-regulate their Covid news consumption. We conducted a two-week diary study and follow-up interviews with 16 people. An inductive Thematic Analysis identified several strategies for self-regulating Covid news consumption: short-term avoidance of all Covid news, selective avoidance (e.g., of news on particular Covid topics), selective consumption of Covid news from particular sources, news perceived to be within one's control, or news likely to be of personal benefit and conscious consumption of Covid news by limiting time spent consuming it, relying on passively encountering (rather than actively seeking) it and consuming it less frequently by returning to pre-pandemic news-browsing routines. An understanding of Covid news self-regulation strategies can help digital platforms that provide crisis-related news better support people in regulating their information consumption more effectively which, in turn, can help safeguard their mental wellbeing.
Read more! https://asistdl.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/pra2.760
Best, Sophie Rutter on behalf of the European Chapter