An honorary resident of York, Ben moved to England from the Faroe Islands in 2013 to do a BA in English Literature. Ben moved over to Sociology for his MA in 2016, where he wrote about the relationship between digital archiving and forgetting in the context of the Facebook memory app ‘Year in Review'. He is currently working on his PhD project, which he started in January 2018.
Ben is currently a seminar tutor on the first-year, undergraduate module Introduction to Sociological Theory.
Jacobsen, B. N. (2019). The Predictive Postcode: The Geodemographic Classification of British Society. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2427.12782
Jacobsen, B. N. (2018). The qualified self: social media and the accounting of everyday life. Information, Communication & Society. Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1369118X.2018.1511743
Supervisors: Professor David Beer and Dr Daryl Martin
Ben’s research project is titled ‘Mediated Memories in the Age of the Algorithm’, and it examines the intersection between algorithms and memory. The research aims to contribute to a better understanding of how algorithms impact us and intervene in our everyday lives, especially in relation to how we remember our personal and collective pasts. It is guided by two overarching questions:
1) to what extent do algorithms affect our personal remembrances of things?
2) what are the social implications of algorithms mediating online memories?
The area of research is vital for various reasons. One reason is that even though algorithmic mediations of memory have become increasingly everyday, mundane, and widely diffused in society, the phenomenon has remained virtually unresearched. Another is that remembering is never a strictly personal set of enactments but is a crucial element of the social fabric. The melding of algorithmic processes and memory raises problematic questions concerning identity, sociality, and power: why are some things remembered and some things forgotten? Who or what decides what is to be remembered? What is to be forgotten and when? How are memories classified, and How are they sustained? The project contends that, given the increasing entanglement between algorithmic processes and people’s personal memories, there is still a need to examine the extent of the social power of algorithms in everyday life.