What are relevant concepts and theoretical approaches?

Current observations link the process of digitalisation to major transformations in society and economy. It has become common wisdom that digital technologies can be disruptive and that, as a result, modern societies are undergoing a period of permanent structural change. From an academic point of view, this raises the question of the consequences of the digital upheaval for the contemporary theory development: Does the digital transformation also call into question our conceptual apparatus for investigating society, the economy, the state? Are there relevant new phenomena that cannot be adequately understood on the basis of existing theoretical assumptions? Are there new theoretical approaches emerging that aim to identify constitutional elements of the changes we observe?

While it may be too early to answer these questions, we are called upon to at least look at them. The programme will focus on Critical Moments and Structural Shifts as general reference points. Empirically, we will focus on the following transformative issues:

  1. Changes in power structures and norms
  2. New forms of governance (e.g. nudging)
  3. The transnationalisation of societies and its implications for the role of states and national law
  4. The transformation of privacy and informational self-determination
  5. Datafication and economic value creation
  6. Rise and impact of algorithmic decision-making
  7. Structural changes in administration