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Issue in focus

Exploring the digital society

To understand current social and technological change, we need explanations that help shape our future. Within the framework of the lecture series "Making Sense of the Digital Society", visionary experts share their perspective on the digital society of our time. They address fundamental questions: What could a European perspective on the current transformation process look like? What is the meaning of power and how is it distributed? And what role do digital technologies play in this? This issue in focus brings together highlights from previous events.

Recorded lectures

Manuel Castells

Power and counter-power

Christoph Neuberger

Democracy and public sphere

Elena Esposito

Future and uncertainty

Articles in this issue in focus

Digital Singularisation

According to Andreas Reckwitz, we are living in a time of fundamental social change — our society is becoming a society of singularisation. Digitisation is playing a pivotal role in…

blog colonised by data

Colonised by data: the hollowing out of digital society

What exactly is colonial about the economic use of data? On November 20, Nick Couldry continued the lecture series Making Sense of the Digital Society. In his lecture, he focused…

The politics behind the Smart City

Modern cities depend largely on invisible infrastructures. The much-hyped ‘Smart Cities’ promise to digitise the urban – but what happens when they fail? How do we make sure that cities…

The price of connection

Shifts in our communication infrastructures have reshaped the very possibilities of social order driven by markets and commercial exploitation. Some people even regard this as a new form of capitalism….

What is surveillance capitalism?

Big Brother is watching you. And not only that – new methods of evaluating and manipulating behavior are starting to threaten our freedom. In her new book “The Age of…

Status Work in the Data Society: Übercapital and Hyper-individualization

Whether it is childcare, credit or consumer goods: ratings, scores and the digital footprint produce new social classifications. This increasing quantification of the social is the reason for new forms…

Social order in the digital society

In today’s digital economy, data is so important that many observers speak of it as “the oil of the 21st century.” The corporations that collect the most of it have…

Power and counter-power in the digital society

How is power constituted in the digital society? Who is powerful – and how can power be countered and contested? On 12 December 2017, Manuel Castells held the opening lecture…

Omens and algorithms: A response to Elena Esposito - Generic Image

Omens and algorithms: A response to Elena Esposito

Can algorithms actually predict the future? And if so, does this make them the gods of our modern society? In her lecture ‘Future and uncertainty in the digital society’, Elena…

Digital power-play: Manuel Castells in Berlin - Generic Image

Digital power-play: Manuel Castells in Berlin

Manuel Castells has been one of the first intellectuals to grasp the internet and its associated developments within a broader social theory. So, how is power constituted in the digital…

Revisiting Castells’ Network Society - Generic Image

Revisiting Castells’ Network Society

We are living in a network society: Manuel Castells attracted wide attention when he published his trilogy The Information Age twenty years ago, providing a broader social theory on the…

Further Videos

Marion Fourcade

Social order in the digital society

Christian Katzenbach

The Platform Paradox (in German)


Social Platforms (in German)