The British Journal of Sociology rewards the paper on monads

Posted: November 1, 2014

Words of thanks to the BJS board from the authors of the paper on Tarde using digital tools:
"We are very honoured by your award especially because this is the first technical paper in English coming out of the médialab we created five years ago to connect social theory and what is now called "big data" but that should really be called "smart data". The médialab had been conceived largely to understand what Gabriel Tarde had in mind when he claimed that he could quantify social connections with better tools than statistics (he was himself the head of criminal statistics at the Ministry of Justice and his data set had been used by Marcel Mauss to feed Durkheim's book on suicide, book where the said Durkheim was more than happy to trash Tarde's insights...). So, in 2004 I began assembling a multidisciplinary group with a biologist (it happens that bacteria are great for testing Tarde's theory!), cognitive scientists, media students and of course science studies scholars to see how we could "operationalize" Tarde with the web data newly available. But it is only with the help of two physicists (Pablo Jensen and Sebastian Grauwin) and the medialab researchers (Dominique Boullier in media studies and Tommaso Venturini in mapping controversies) that we have been able to see how the obscure notion of "monads" could be made more amenable to empirical analysis. To be complete I should add the technical director of the médialab, Paul Girard, whose role was essential in helping us through the long process. There is of course a long way to go! But we are very proud and thank you very much for such an honour. Tarde vindicated by the Britts a century later, that's really great!"
The authors