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Digital Technologies in Society

Between Opportunities for Participation and New Inequalities

In this research focus, the connection between digitalization, participation and inequality is to be researched, the use of digital technologies for participation opportunities is to be tested and interventions against new inequalities are to be made. To this end, perspectives from business informatics, design research and computer science will be brought together.

Access to digital technologies depends on factors such as income, level of education, but also region of life. Digital technologies can thus exacerbate existing social inequalities and create new ones. At the same time, digital technologies promise to create new opportunities for participation, whether through new possibilities for articulation or through new forms of coming together. In order to enable as many people in society as possible to participate equally in digitization, it is necessary to create certain conditions to be able to offer possibilities and opportunities for this and to avoid new inequalities.

Against this background, this research focus addresses the conditions of participation in digital societies: on access to digital infrastructures and technologies, user competencies, characteristics and patterns, and also on the role of the design of these technologies for the realization of participation opportunities. In order to combine these perspectives, explanatory-analytical research approaches are combined with interventional-experimental approaches in which possibilities of designing digital infrastructures to strengthen participation are tested.

Within the framework of this research focus, research groups from three different perspectives - business informatics, design research, and computer science - analyze the areas of tension between participation and new inequalities.

Research Groups

Well-being in the Digital World

The research group investigates the effects of digital technology usage on users' perception, cognition, emotions, and behavior. The aim is to identify the mechanisms that impact individual well-being and influence the perception of social processes.

Digitalization, Sustainability, and Participation

The group's research focuses on the sustainable design of digital technologies, their application potentials for facilitating socio-ecological transformation processes, and the critical examination of conflicting goals in the area of tension between sustainability and digitalization.

Design, Diversity and New Commons

Acting towards an inclusive digital society, the research group Design, Diversity and New Commons explores questions of a digital common good, participatory justice and representation to work towards more diverse digital technologies, processes, and practices.

Data, Algorithmic Systems and Ethics

Algorithmic systems can have profound influences on users and societies. The research group “Data, Algorithmic Systems and Ethics” investigates the design, development, application, and regulation of data-driven systems as well as social and institutional contexts that shape the production of data and algorithms.