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Discourse at the Sitzwohl

The Discourse at the Sitzwohl is aimed at those who enjoy intellectual exchange with like-minded researchers. To this end, we invite external experts who develop works, projects, theses, and provocative insights into socially relevant topics, specific approaches to scientific theory, and great thinkers, and bring them up in a conversation followed by discourse. Due to its highly interactive character, this philosophical-intellectual discussion is intended to be stimulating and enriching, especially for experienced researchers.

  

Discourse at the Sitzwohl 2018/1

anol-bhattacherjee

Guest: Prof. Anol Bhattacherjee (University of South Florida),  Date: 17th May 2018

Title: A Picture is worth a Thousand Words?
Integrating Deep Learning and Econometrics Analysis to Examine the Effect of Images on Airbnb Reservations

Building trust between unknown parties has been a major problem in the emergent sharing economy. Online platforms like Airbnb attempt to address this issue by allowing hosts to share detailed information and images about their rental property with potential guests. While the effect of information (numeric and text data) has been extensively studied in the existing literature, the effect of images is less known. This is partially because of the lack of a scientific methodology and automated tools for image analysis. In this paper, we use supervised deep learning (convolutional neural networks) to classify images on Airbnb listings into categories (interior, exterior, and other) and analyze their information content (entropy) and quality, in order to examine the effect of images on Airbnb occupancy. A one-year panel data for Airbnb listings in six cities (four American, two European) is analyzed econometrically to gain insights into which types of images are likely to increase occupancy rates, how many images is optimal and of which type, what attributes of images make a property more attractive to Airbnb guests, and so forth. The novelty of the research lies in its attempt to integrate images in traditional data analysis models to generate unique insights that were otherwise impossible to obtain.

 

 

Discourse at the Sitzwohl 2016/2

Richard Watson

Guest: Prof. Rick Watson (University of Georgia's Terry College of Business),  Date: 24th October 2016

Title: The Digitization of Capital

Many businesses realize that they need to undergo a digital transformation, but there is no guiding framework to help strategic thinkers identify what and why to digitize. This presentation is based on the premise that an organization is a capital conversion system. Capital is created by a series of conversion mechanisms that transform capital from one form to another or enhance its value. Thus, digital transformation is essentially about understanding how and why to digitize capital to raise an organization’s capital conversion ratio. The digitization of the six major types of capital, and three major types of capital conversion are discussed. Questions for research and practice are identified. The presenter first spoke on this topic for his keynote address at the MIT conference for Chief Data Officers in 2014.

Prof. Rick Watson is a Regents Professor and the J. Rex Fuqua Distinguished Chair for Internet Strategy in the Department of MIS at the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business. He is also the Research Director for the Advanced Practices Council of the Society for Information Management.

  

 

Discourse at the Sitzwohl 2016/1 

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Guest: Prof. John Meyer (Stanford University), Date: 20th April 2016

Title: Global Organizational Expansion

A striking feature of the contemporary period is the expansion of "organization" ­ a term that seems to connote a rationalized collective actor with some agency and accountability. There are more organizations, and existing ones become more elaborated. A surprising observation is that the phenomenon cuts across very different national societies, and essentially all social sectors ­ business, government agencies, and a host of formerly-distinct things now called non-profits. Most explanatory ideas are specific to particular arrangements of power and interest (e.g., in the case of universities, "academic capitalism"), but the phenomenon calls for a much more general explanation. Worldwide cultural changes clearly lie in the background.

John Meyer is a professor of sociology (and by courtesy, education) emeritus, at Stanford; a faculty member at CDDRL; and a senior fellow, by courtesy, at FSI. He received his PhD from Columbia University, and taught there for several years before coming to Stanford. His research has focused on the spread of modern institutions around the world, and their impact on national states and societies. He is particularly interested in the spread and impact of scientific activity, and in the expansion and standardization of educational models. He has made many contributions to organizational theory (e.g., Organizational Environments, with W. R. Scott, Sage 1983), and to the sociology of education, developing lines of thought now called neoinstitutional theory. Since the late 1970s, he has worked on issues related to the impact of global society on national states and societies (e.g., Institutional Structure, co-authored with others, Sage 1987). Currently, he is completing a collaborative study of worldwide science and its impact on national societies (Drori, et al., Science in the Modern World Polity, Stanford, 2003), and is working on a study of the rise and impact of the worldwide human rights regime.


 

 

Discourse at the Sitzwohl 2015/1


Hans Alma

Guest: Prof. Hans Alma (Universities of Leiden and Nijmegen), Date: 27th January 2015

Title: "Imagination as a social force"

‘The image, the imagined, the imaginary - these are all terms that direct us to something critical and new in global cultural processes: the imagination as a social practice.’ (Appadurai, 1996: 31)

The closely connected concepts of image, imagination and imaginary can help us comprehend global cultural processes and the way people relate to them. To explore this field, I'll discuss the work of three important thinkers: Charles Taylor's view on social imaginaries, John Dewey's view on (moral) imagination and Arjun Appadurai's view on imagination as a social practice. It will be argued that it is urgent to use the insights they offer to better understand the space of contestation in which imagined worlds come into being and the role of media in this process. Imagination as a fuel for collective action can be used in violent ways in service of extremist world images that spread over the world by the intensive use of social media. We need to join forces as researchers in different fields to understand imagination and imagined worlds in their full complexities, and their impact in today's globalized world.

Hans Alma studied Pedagogics and Psychology at the Universities of Leiden and Nijmegen and worked as a researcher in Amsterdam, Leiden and Utrecht. Since 2003 she is Professor of Cultural Psychology at the University of Humanistic Studies (Utrecht) and her research revolves around imagination, meanings of life and religious pluralism.
The University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht is a renowned academic centre of knowledge inspired by the humanist body of thought and Hans Alma was the first female rector not only in Utrecht but in the Netherlands.

 

 

Discourse at the Sitzwohl 2011/1


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Guest: Dr. Kai-Uwe Hellmann (TU Berlin), Date: 4th March 2011

Title: "Fetische des Konsums - was leistet die Systemtheorie für die Markenforschung?"

Dr. Kai Uwe Hellmann has been involved in consumer and brand research for years. As a student of Luhmann, he conceives the treatment and further development of this field of research primarily in terms of systems theory. Dr. Kai-Uwe Hellmann is a private lecturer at the Institute of Sociology at the TU Berlin and currently holds a professorship in sociology at the Helmut Schmidt University in Hamburg.

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