Reflecting on Engagement: Malware and a Social Scientist

I have recently completed a piece for my centre’s yearbook on my experience researching a malware analysis laboratory. I place it here as a sort of ‘preprint’ for those who may wish to think about (auto)ethnography and the role it has. Especially, as I try to reflect on the difficulties associated with the process, as well as some of the insights this method has.

Reflecting on Engagement: Malware and a Social Scientist: click here for the .pdf

It comes at a time when there has been a lot of chatter around Dr. Julian Kirchherr’s recent contribution in The Guardian – A PhD should be about improving society, not chasing academic kudos – which asks for students to not to chase citations, and work with practitioners from day one. No problem with that. However, my own work explores the distance, careful working and reflection required that doesn’t fit into a consultant-speak ‘efficient’ or ‘lean’ PhD [confession: I was a management consultant at one point]. So, I’m wary of these calls to ‘speed-up’ the process. The article identifies worrying trends, yes, around mental health and citational practices, but the resolution seems to be work ever-further within the logic that is causing these issues. I posted a Twitter thread about it:

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