Taina Bucher

I’m a media researcher, based in Copenhagen, Denmark, where I currently work as an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Communication and Computing, University of Copenhagen. My research focuses on social media, and the power of algorithms in everyday life, at the intersection of software studies, STS and new media theory.

I got my PhD in media studies from the University of Oslo in the Department of Media and Communiaction, in 2012. Before moving to Copenhagen, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Information Science and Media Studies, University of Bergen. During my PhD I was a Visting Scholar at the Department of Media, Culture and Communication, New York University, and a Visiting Researcher at the Infoscape Research Lab, Ryerson University.

My PhD dissertation entitled Programmed Sociality: A Software Studies Perspective on Social Networking Sites concerns the ways in which social media platforms have become central forces in the construction of sociality, developing an understand of how social networking software mediate and govern practices of everyday life.  Specifically, I’ve been looking at the ways in which the Facebook platform manages and produces the conditions for sociality through forms of  algorithmic regulation and infrastructural structuration. My work was supervised by Anders Fagerjord and Geert Lovink. The dissertation committee included: Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Matthew Fuller and Gunnar Liestøl.

In my dissertation I make the claim  that social networking software enact “programmed sociality.” That is, they prescribe norms and gather actors (human and non-human) into specific forms of collective association shaped around the pursuit of participation. Theoretically and conceptually my disseration draws from recent work in software studies, medium-focused media studies, and Foucauldian analyses of power. Through several interrelated case studies of Facebook’s Open Graph protocol, EdgeRank algorithm, and the Twitter APIs, the dissertation produces a concrete account of how software can be studied as a key component to social life online.

I hold an MSc in Culture & Society from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and a BA in Culture and Communication from the University of Oslo and Art History from Lund University. Before proceeding with PhD studies, I worked as a research assistant in the Digital Media Group at the National Institute for Consumer Research (SIFO).