Department of Sociology

DEPARTMENT OF

Sociology

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Norma Möllers

Assistant Professor
Ph.D. (Sociology, Universität Potsdam)

Phone: (613) 533-4449
Extension: 74449
Email: norma.mollers@queensu.ca
Office: Mackintosh-Corry Hall, Room D531

Research Areas

Broadly speaking, my research interests are located at the intersections of science, technology, and politics: What kinds of values shape science & technology, and how are science & technology implicated in maintaining social order? I am specifically interested the science and technology of security and surveillance. Further research interests include cybersecurity, digital work/labor (with particular focus on its gendered and global dimensions), and ‘neoliberal’ technoscience.

Currently, I’m working on my first book manuscript. Based on an ethnography of the development of a ‘smart’ video surveillance system, it deals with the ways in which science and technology become enrolled in national strategies concerning security, and how this connects to broader shifts in technoscientific knowledge production. I also just got started working on my second project which addresses the question how governments deal with problems of national territory in cyberspace.

Bio

I have joined Queen’s Sociology department in Fall 2015. Prior to coming to Queen’s, I have worked as a researcher at Humboldt-University’s science studies department in Berlin, have been a visiting researcher at UC Irvine, and have worked as a researcher at Potsdam University, Germany, which is also where I obtained my PhD. I have studied at Passau University, Germany, and at Sapienza University, Rome.

Research Projects

Cybersecurity and the making of 'digital territory'
(SSHRC Insight Development Grant, 2017-2019)

This project brings together empirical studies on how cybersecurity shapes 'digital citizenship' with recent theorizing of the mundaneness and materiality of state governance. Drawing attention to the materiality of Internet governance is important: technical standards, algorithms, and the mundane work involved in embedding and maintaining them are often overlooked, yet may be highly consequential. State legislation always has material consequences for the shape of infrastructure, as well as for who has what access to what kinds of data. For example, governments may pressure Internet service providers to build ‘back doors’ into their infrastructure so they can access data on citizen’s online behavior; similarly, legislation on cyberpolicing may result in building joint databases for police and intelligence, or in software for automatic detection of cybercrime and –terrorism. Quite contrary to the Internet’s popular image as ‘disembodied communication’ and ‘global network,’ what we may see here is a strong pull towards its ‘territorialization.’ The questions such developments raise, and which this project seeks to address, are thus how state intervention is inscribed in and materially stabilized by information infrastructure, and how this shapes who counts and may act as ‘digital citizen’ and who does not.

Teaching (2017-18)

SOCY 284: Sociology of Information & Communication Technology
SOCY 363: Science, Technology & Society
SOCY 422: Advanced Study of Information & Communication Technology

Supervision

I supervise students broadly in the area of science & technology studies. I'm particularly interested in supervising students who want to investigate intersections of science, engineering, and the state or markets.

Current graduate students:

Karina Rider (PhD) - Information infrastructure and political action
Jennifer Whitaker

Publications

Möllers, Norma (2017): 'The mundane politics of security research: Tailoring research problems'. Science & Technology Studies 30 (2), 14-33.

Neyland, Daniel and Norma Möllers (2017): 'Algorithmic IF ... THEN rules and the conditions and consequences of power'. Information, Communication & Society 20 (1), 45-62.

Möllers, Norma (2016): 'Shifting in and out of context: Technoscientific drama as technology of the self'. Social Studies of Science 46 (3), 351-373.

Hälterlein, Jens and Norma Möllers (2016): 'Deutungskonflikte um automatisierte Videoüberwachung. Zur sozialen Konstruktion einer Technologie als Instrument der Kriminalitätsbekämpfung'. In: Zoche, Peter, Stefan Kaufmann and Harald Arnold (eds.): Grenzenlose Sicherheit? Gesellschaftliche Dimensionen der Sicherheitsforschung. Berlin: LIT Verlag, 163-180.

Möllers, Norma, Jens Hälterlein, and Tina Spies (2014): 'Subjektivierung als Artikulation diskursiver Ordnungen.  Zur Aneignung von Subjektpositionen im Kontext der Entwicklung automatisierter Videoüberwachung'. Zeitschrift für Diskursforschung  2 (1), 55–76.

Möllers, Norma und Jens Hälterlein (2013): 'Privacy Issues in Public Discourse. The Case of "Smart" CCTV in Germany'. Innovation. The European Journal of Social Science Research 26 (1–2), 57–70.

Apelt, Maja und Norma Möllers (2011): "Wie ‚intelligente‘ Videoüberwachung erforschen? Ein Resümee aus 10 Jahren Forschung zu Videoüberwachung.“ Zeitschrift für Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik 4 (4), 585–593.

You can also find my papers on my academia.edu profile.