lecture series

Making Sense of the Digital Society

The current rapid social and technological change brings about enormous uncertainties – a great need for explanations and sense-making but also of shaping our common future. This high-profile lecture series thrives to develop a European perspective on the processes of transformation that our societies are currently undergoing. To this end, the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) and the German Federal Agency for Civic Education (bpb) are inviting great European thinkers to help us making sense of the digital society.

What is really changing in society beyond the hype of short-term excitement? What is power in the digital society, and how is it distributed? Do we witness the revival of democracy through increased participation and transparency, or rather its demise due to fragmentation and populism? Are services fueled by algorithms and artificial intelligence improving our private and business lives or do they enforce social inequalities? How does urban life change in times of digitization and what role do infrastructures take?



The lecture series started with an inaugural lecture by Manuel Castells, author of the highly influential Information Age-Trilogy and professor at the University of Southern California. Further lectures were held by Marion Fourcade, professor of sociology at the UC Berkeley, Christoph Neuberger, professor of communication studies at the LMU München, Elena Esposito, Professor for Sociology at the University of Bielefeld and Stephen Graham, Professor of Cities and Society at the Newcastle University’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape. Further announced speakers are Andreas Reckwitz, Professor for Comparative Cultural Sociology at Viadrina European University andShoshana Zuboff, retired professor at the Harvard Business School and author of the upcoming book The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power.

All events in this series are moderated by Tobi Müller. They are held in English and translated simultaneously into German.


Events in this series

19:00 - 22:00
Manuel Castells: Power and counter-power in the digital society
Kino International, Berlin
19:00 - 22:00
Christoph Neuberger: Democracy and public sphere in the digital society
Tagungswerk, Berlin
19:00 - 22:00
Elena Esposito: Future and uncertainty in the digital society
Auditorium Friedrichstraße, Berlin
19:00 - 22:00
Marion Fourcade: Social order in the digital society
Langenbeck-Virchow-Haus, Berlin
19:00 - 22:00
Stephen Graham: The politics of urban digital infrastructures
Säälchen – Holzmarkt, Berlin
19:00 - 22:00
Cancelled - Shoshana Zuboff: Surveillance Capitalism and Democracy
Kino International, Berlin
18:30 - 22:00
Nick Couldry: Colonised by data – the hollowing out of digital society
Auditorium Friedrichstraße, Berlin
18:30 - 22:00
Andreas Reckwitz: Digitalisation and society of singularities
Georg-Neumann-Saal (Jazz-Institut Berlin), Berlin


Christian Katzenbach, Prof. Dr.

Co-Head of Research Project: The evolving digital society

Past lectures

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