Julia Adams, "Wikipedia, Wissenschaft, and Mechanisms of Social Exclusion/Inclusion”

Blumer Room - 402 Social Sciences Building & Via Zoom

Wikipedia is an exemplar – a digital poster-child -- of Robert K. Merton’s 1936 essay on exclusion as unanticipated consequence of purposive action. Editorial practices, algorithms, and communities typically undermine the representation of notable women and minorities on academic Wikipedia and thereby create new gender and racial inequalities in on-line encyclopedias and their digital cousins. This is not invariably the case, however. What practices make for more -- or even less --- accurate forms of disciplinary knowledge? Where are the consequential points of social action? One point of departure is Merton’s observation that the consciousness of a social process may influence the process itself.


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