Contrasting medium and genre on Wikipedia to open up the dominating definition and classification of geoengineering

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Markusson, Nils ; Venturini, Tommaso ; Laniado, David ; Kaltenbrunner, Andreas (2016)
  • Publisher: HAL CCSD
  • Journal: Big Data & Society (issn: 2053-9517)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1177/2053951716666102
  • Subject: climate engineering | A | digital methods | [ SHS.INFO ] Humanities and Social Sciences/Library and information sciences | definition | Wikipedia | [SHS.INFO] Humanities and Social Sciences/Library and information sciences | classification | General Works | geoengineering

International audience; Geoengineering is typically defined as a techno-scientific response to climate change that differs from mitigation and adaptation, and that includes diverse individual technologies, which can be classified as either solar radiation management or carbon dioxide removal. We analyse the representation of geoengineering on Wikipedia as a way of opening up this dominating, if contested, model for further debate. We achieve this by contrasting the dominating model as presented in the encyclopaedic article texts with the patterns of hyper-link associations between the articles. Two datasets were created tracing the geoengineering construct on Wikipedia, shedding light on its boundary with its context, as well as on its internal structure. The analysis shows that the geoengineering category tends to be associated on Wikipedia primarily with atmospheric solar radiation management rather than land-based carbon dioxide removal type technologies. The results support the notion that the dominant model of defining and classifying geoengineering technology has been beneficial for solar radiation management type technologies more than for land-based carbon dioxide removal ones. The article also demonstrates that controversy mapping with Wikipedia data affords analysis that can open up dominating definitions and classifications of technologies, and offer resistance to their frequent naturalising and decontextualising tendencies. This work is in line with recent work on digital sociology, but the article contributes a new methodology and reports on the first empirical application of controversy mapping using Wikipedia data to a technology.
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