This blog post is a call for help: I need beta-testers, and bright minds, to help me realize my latest project. Anybody with experience in Gephi, Sankey diagrams and web design more broadly: please drop me a line!

What is this all about? Basically, I am in the process of finally publishing a book from my Gujarat project. The empirical core of this project was a typology of "Being Muslim and working for peace", comprising of faith-based actors, secular technocrats, emancipating women, and doubting professionals. Each kind of activist struggles with the ambivalence and ambiguity of the sacred in their own ways, and combine belief, belonging and behaviour differently. Throughout, my research was guided by the conviction that

Man’s behaviour in this world of men is not random. It follows certain rules which, while they are like everything human, historical and thus subject to change, acquire a life of their own. [...] The official behind the counter and the citizen before it are in a sense not unique personalities, but personae, masks, they are playing parts, roles. All the world’s a stage, or – more precisely, if less graciously put – the crystallization of rules into roles is the basic fact of society and thus of social science.1

Now, I believe it to be a researcher's role to unpack roles and discover who rules (see this post). Yet inadvertedly, the process of writing up one's findings ends up creating new roles -- in my case, the four-fold typology of Muslim peace activists. My idea is, now, to design an online supplement to my book to allow readers to experiment live with the crystallization of roles into rules -- and back. One will be able to explore the typology further, see the internal similarities and external dissimilarities of each type -- but also the internal dissimilarities and external similarities. One will be able to reconfigure the typology by weighing different factors differently. And through all of this, one would ideally gain an insight in how typologizing analysis works.

In order for this idea to materialize, however, I need help: both technical assistance and, more importantly, fresh eyes and minds which have not dealt with the data so visualized for years (like me). If you are interested in infographics and data visualization, or maybe just interested in Muslims working for peace, please step forward!