Skip to content
Header: Title of the concept series and editors mentioned

Defining concepts of the digital society

At a time when branding new, occasionally innovative but often only catchy terms has become a familiar activity of researchers, companies and policymakers alike, it is necessary to reflect on which of these concepts is actually worthwhile, provides analytic value and in effect describes something new. This new special section Defining concepts of the digital society seeks to foster a platform that discusses and validates these overarching frameworks and theories. Based on the latest research, yet broad in scope, the contributions offer effective tools to analyse the digital society. Their authors offer concise articles that portray and critically discuss individual concepts such as algorithmic governance, datafication, platformisation, privacy with an interdisciplinary mindset.

Learn more about the publication and the editors and read the editorial by Christian Katzenbach and Thomas Christian Bächle.

The concepts

Transparency is one of the most important expectations towards the otherwise opaque artificial intelligence. How can it be achieved? How do the calls for transparency shape the debates on AI ethics and regulation?

Learn more

Ranging from datafied cities to speakers with voice assistants: many technologies today are referred to as ‘smart’. But what exactly lies behind this attribute? How powerful is their agency - and to what degree do they limit or extend human agency?

Learn more

Algorithms are never neutral. There is always the risk that they amplify social inequalities. How can we avoid this? How can algorithmic bias be uncovered and how can we design new technologies in a way that they account for essential values?

Learn more

 

Digital commons such as Wikipedia and free software are produced by collectives, rather than by companies or nation states. But what does it mean to organise data and platforms in collective ways? And can it help to promote equitable access in the digital society?

Learn more

Digital sovereignty has become a key strategic goal of many countries and collectives. But what does this self-determination mean in the digital context? And will it accelarate the fragmentation of the internet?
Learn more
Cybersecurity covers the broad range of technical and social issues that must be considered to protect networked information systems. Why has this concept become disconnected from social science notions? How did the concerns of inappropriate cyber securitisation arise?

Learn more

 

Decentralisation is at the core of the internet’s founding narrative. Do recent distributed technologies such as Blockchain re-surface this paradigm and challenge the dominant centralized platforms? How do they contribute to re-ordering power dynamics?

To be released

Concept: Algorithmic governance Algorithmic governance means that digital technologies order and regulate the social in specific ways. Will this development lead to opacity, a loss in human agency and the muting of political debate?

Learn more

Datafication refers to the quantification and often accompanying monetisation of human life through digital information. How is this process connected to capitalism? What does datafication mean for the relationship between power and knowledge?

Learn more

Concept: Filter bubbleThe concept of the filter bubble seems plausible and enjoys considerable popularity in public and policy discourse, yet research shows little evidence that the phenomenon even exists. Should we dismiss it altogether?

Learn more

 

Concept: PlatformisationPlatformisation today seems to be everywhere: from media to mobility, from housing to health. Why have platforms become the dominant mode of organisation and imagination in the digital society?

Learn more

Concept: PrivacyPrivacy has always been an ambivalent concept, at the intersection of protection, (de-)politicisation and individual rights. But things get even murkier in digital societies: how should we rethink privacy and to what degree are its core values under threat?

Learn more

About HIIG

The HIIG researches the development of the internet from a societal perspective with the aim to better understand the digitalisation of all spheres of life.

Our Journals

Keep in touch

Would you like to receive the latest news on internet and social research? Subscribe to our newsletters.