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.

The lecture series addresses fundamental questions: 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? What is really changing in society beyond the hype of short-term excitement? These overarching and long-term transformations are hard to proof and to explain. To this end, HIIG and bpb are inviting leading European academics to mobilise and develop key concepts and theories to make sense of the complex present and the unknown future.

The lecture series started in December 2017 with Manuel Castells, author of the highly influential Information Age-Trilogy and professor at the University of Catalonia, and the University of Southern California. Further speakers of the series are 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 the University of Modena-Reggio Emilia, and José van Dijck, author of the forthcoming book The Platform Society and president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

All events in this series are held in English and translated simultaneously into German.

Events in this series

Date/Time Event
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

Date/Time Event
19:00 - 22:00
José van Dijck


Christian Katzenbach, Prof. Dr.

Head of Research Programme: The evolving digital society

Past lectures

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