[hackerspaces] Master's thesis

Andrew Schrock aschrock at usc.edu
Thu Jan 16 21:56:22 CET 2014

Hi Maxigas, 

I was responding to surveys more generally. Didn't do a close read on this particular one. I generally agree with your points -- you can read surveys for the inherent biases therein. "The averaged american" is a helpful book, as is Laura Stark's work on IRBs, both from more of an historical/STS perspective. 

Regarding agenda, it depends on how you define "agenda" and whether you come from an empirical tradition. You come from a european critical tradition so it's natural you would read surveys as a different kind of evidence. From a social science perspective there are rules for assembling proper surveys - eliminating bias while addressing specific research questions or hypotheses. But rarely have I seen good surveys come from an MA student. Errors in surveys - your example of hackers being related to software - may be an "agenda" but it's also poor survey construction and a misunderstanding a population of interest. 

For a number of reasons, many of which you outlined, surveys are not a good methodology for gathering data on political participation. What "political" means tends to get defined a priori which is a terrible idea for hacker and maker spaces given their widely divergent ideologies and efforts. 

But now we're boring the list crowd. Good to chat as always. 


On Jan 16, 2014, at 9:57 AM, maxigas <maxigas at anargeek.net> wrote:

> Every survey has an agenda, which it can push more or less strongly, or more or less consciously.  But there is one rule: no agenda = no survey.  

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