Research in fractured digital spaces

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The internet is a medium for research, a place for the exchange of drugs and knowledge, and a method for governing and surveilling drug users. Opportunities for drug research with and in digital spaces are expanding, using internet mediated methods such as online surveys, web scraping, and research with web communities and users of cryptomarkets and apps. As the sphere of social data grows, so does the degree to which data itself is a product of fractured, governed, privatised set of spaces. Research often has to work with these structural aspects and researchers have to be aware of the structural mediation of their data. The opportunities for research also demand that researchers consider the validity of traditional scientific hierarchies such as the assumed superiority of probability sampling, and parse the naturally occurring taxonomies that are produced by the systems they research. A positive development has been the growth of internet focused researchers who operate in and outwith the academy and who are creating an independent research infrastructure with potential for a democratic research politics.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Early online date16 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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