Digital Society: Considering Aspects of Living, Working and Governing Digital Sociality

Postgraduate seminar (2015/2016)

In this seminar we want to critically engage with topics that relate to living and learning in a digital society, and how digital societies may be governed. Topics we want to discuss relate to questions such as:  Do we live in a Digital Society and what does that mean? How is sociality performed in the digital age? What is the role of information technologies in and for society? What are challenges of a digital society that aims to be inclusive and innovative? What do terms such as transparency, accountability, ethics and politics relate to in a digital society and how are they enacted? Throughout the seminar we will attend the increasing datafication of social life as one particular aspect of digital sociality.

Seminar aims and objectives:

While following this seminar, students should be able to:

  • appreciate the history and development of the term ‘digital society’ and develop an understanding of some of the key themes that have arisen; how they may be conceptualised and researched;
  • develop, understand and evaluate many of the opportunities and limitations that arise from the ever growing entanglement of organisation, work and technology;
  • gain familiarity with a particular aspect of a ‘digital society’ through the application of theoretical concepts on a specific case study/area;
  • develop group competencies and an interest in team working;
  • synthesise the different elements of understanding in a verbal presentation and in an essay.

External speakers:

  1. Citizen Science: Citizen Science: Creating no-walls laboratories
    Guest Lecture by Fermín Serrano (Fundacion Ibercivis, Spain)
  2. Digital Divide: HINARI Access to Research in Health Programme
    Guest Lecture by Barbara Aronson (World Health Organization, Switzerland)
  3. Doing Open Government: Lüneburg’s Open Data Portal
    Guest Lecture by Stefan Domanske (IT Manager County Council Lüneburg)
  4. The social aspects of digital democracy: The example of satellite-based monitoring of the Brazilian Amazon and environmental policy making
    Full-day seminar with Prof. Raoni Rajao (UFMG, Brazil)
  5. Civic Hacking: Using Open Government Data for Society
    Guest Lecture by Timo Lundelius (We build Hamburg)

The full-day seminar will be based on Prof. Rajao’s research on satellite-based monitoring systems for the detection of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. Based on the history of two different systems (PRODES, DETER), will we explore the role of digital data practices in the formulation of relevant policies. Stakeholders that we will attend to are scientists, policy makers, rangers, NGOs and journalists.


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