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2013/2014  KAN-SOC_VFNT  Mapping controversies: navigating trends and controversies

English Title
Mapping controversies: navigating trends and controversies

Course information

Language English
Exam ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Course period Second Quarter
Changes in schedule may occur.
Thursday 9.50-11.30, week 44.
Thursday 9.50-13.20, week 45-51.
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Min. participants 35
Max. participants 50
Study board
Study Board for MSc of Social Science
Course coordinator
  • Helene Ratner - MPP
Administration: Karina Ravn Nielsen, 3815 3782, electives.lpf@cbs.dk
Main academic disciplines
  • Globalization, International Business, markets and studies
  • International Politics
  • Communication
  • Management
  • Management of Information and Knowledge Management
  • Organization
  • Political leadership, public management and international politics
Last updated on 18-03-2013
Learning objectives
After taking this course, students will be able to:
  • To set out an overview of the theories and methods presented at the course, and to discuss their implications for analyzing controversies.
  • To analyze the constitutive conditions for controversies, using in combination the digital mapping technologies and the theories of the course.
  • To collect and operationalize large amounts of information (”big data”) in order to map and analyze polyphonic controversies.
  • To analyze the development of controversies, over a period of time, including their internal dynamics and development.
Course prerequisites
It is an intense course, based on the students' motivation and active participation in class and between classes. Students interested in joining this course should therefore expect case work outside class.
Mapping controversies: navigating trends and controversies:
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance.
Individual or group exam Group exam, max. 5 students in the group
Synopsis in groups or individually.
Individual oral exam.
Size of written product Max. 5 pages
Individual synopsis max. 3 pages
Assignment type Synopsis
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and external examiner
Exam period December/January
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure
All classes are conducted in English but Danish students have the opportunity of a Danish examination.
Course content and structure
This course explores the constitution and development of controversies. Controversies are highly complex and polyphonic disputes, spreading beyond national and organizational boundaries and moving across distinct domains such as economy, politics, science and technology.

This development leads us to a number of theoretical and methodological challenges in analyzing and strategically navigating controversies such as public-relations, emerging markets and political and techno-scientific disputes.

Examples of controversies could be:
- Financial transaction tax
- New nordic food
- Road pricing conflicts
- Death penalty
(see www.mappingcontroversies.dk for examples)

The course is theoretically founded in Science and technology studies (STS), especially actor-network theory and discourse theory (primarily Laclau). Our way into modern controversies goes through the experimenting digitcal and theoretical concept of ‘mapping’, originally designed by sociologist Bruno Latour. The course offers reflections on the emerging intersections between digital analytical strategies and sociological theories of controversies.

The course is a part of growing international network of controversy mapping, making the case work a possible step stone for participating in some of the annual international competitions.
Teaching methods
The course combines lectures, workshops, and student presentations, with students’ conducting own case work in between classes (collecting and analyzing large amounts of data, using advanced harvesting, mapping and visualization software).
Expected literature
Andersen, N. Å. (2003). Discursive analytical strategies: Understanding koselleck, laclau, luhmann (1st ed.). UK: Policy Press.

Appadurai, A. (1990). Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy. Theory, Culture & Society, 7(2), 295–310. doi:10.1177/026327690007002017

Justesen, L. (2005). Dokumenter i netværk. In M. Järvinen, & N. Mik-Meyer (Eds.), Kvalitative metoder i et interaktionistisk perspektiv (pp. 97-120). København: Hans Reitzels Forlag.

Laclau, E. (2000). Identity and hegemony: The role of universality in the constitution of political logics. In J. Butler, E. Laclau & S. Zizek (Eds.), Contingency, hegemony, universality: Contemporary dialogues on the left (pp. 44-89). London: Verso.

Latour, B. (1987). Science in action: how to follow scientists and engineers through society. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the social: an introduction to actor-network-theory. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.

Madsen, A. K. (2012). Web-Visions as Controversy-Lenses. Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 37(1), 51–68. doi:10.1179/0308018812Z.0000000004

Marcus, G. (1995). Ethnography in/of the world system: The emergence of multi-sited ethnography.Annual Review of Anthropology, 24, 95-117.

Marres, N., & Rogers, R. (2008). Subsuming the ground: how local realities of the Fergana Valley, the Narmada Dams and the BTC pipeline are put to use on the Web. Economy and Society, 37(2), 251–281. doi:10.1080/03085140801933314

Venturini, T. (2009). Diving in magma: how to explore controversies with actor-network theory. Public Understanding of Science, 19(3), 258–273. doi:10.1177/0963662509102694

Venturini, T. (2010). Building on faults: How to represent controversies with digital methods. Public Understanding of Science, 21(7), 796–812. doi:10.1177/0963662510387558

Venturini, T., & Guido, D. (2013). Once Upon a Text: An ANT Tale in Text Analysis. Sociologica.

Venturini, T., & Latour, B. (2010). The Social Fabric: Digital Traces and Quali-quantitative Methods. In Future En Seine 2009. Presented at the The digital future of the city, Paris: Cap Digital.

Whatmore, S. J. (2009). Mapping knowledge controversies: science, democracy and the redistribution of expertise. Progress in Human Geography, 33(5), 587–598. doi:10.1177/0309132509339841
Last updated on 18-03-2013