Web-Visions as Controversy-Lenses

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Web-based visualizations are increasingly used to study and manage
emerging technologies and the controversies they ignite. The first part of
this paper provides a methodological review of this trend and presents a
typology that organizes influential analytical approaches according to the
data they use to generate visualizations; the ontology they ascribe to them
and their proposed function. The second part presents ‘web-vision analysis’
as an analytical approach that has roots in different aspects of the reviewed
approaches but nonetheless distinguishes itself in two ways. First, it
translates the concepts of ‘calculative spaces’ and ‘attention-structures’ from
economic sociology into controversy-visualization. Second, it constructs
visualizations on the basis of case-study logics. The third part illustrates how
this approach ultimately leads to distinct empirical choices by reflecting on
the process of constructing and interpreting web-visions of synthetic biology
made from January to October 2011.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInterdisciplinary Science Reviews
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)51-68
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • controversy
  • visualization
  • digital traces
  • synthetic biology
  • webvision


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