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Democracy and Digitalisation

Research Group 12

Developing a better understanding of the interplay between digitalisation and democratic self-governance is the aim of this research group. We examine how liberal societies form and make use of digital technologies, as well as how democracies are shaped by digitalisation. The research focuses on three areas of interest: Political participation, the digital transformation of the democratic public sphere and the reconfiguration of rule in the digital constellation (law and domination).

The research group analyses the interplay between digitalisation and democratic self-governance. We examine how liberal societies form and make use of digital technologies, as well as how democracies are shaped by digitalisation.

Political Participation

In the area of ‘Political Participation’, we ask how individual and collective potentials to act politically are transformed and how this change is to be assessed in terms of democratic theory. For example, we examine how the conditions for political action change in relation to the governmental regulatory framework or the possibilities of extra-parliamentary forms of organization and intervention.

Transformation of public sphere(s)

In the area ‘Transformation of public sphere(s)’, we dissect the role of datafication and algorithmic sorting of information and its dissemination in the context of privately organized, global platforms. On this basis, we examine to what extent and by which means democracies can setup ‘their’ publics.

Law and domination

The third area of interest is the reconfiguration of rule in the digital constellation. Our research on ‘Law and domination’ examines e.g. to which extent fundamental democratic rights – like privacy or the right to assemble – are subject to a conceptual change in response to digitalization. In the light of new and emerging threats of infringement and violations, we further analyze if and how the scope of protection of fundamental rights needs to be redefined.

Each of the projects undertaken in this research group combines normative democratic theory and empirical research on digital transformation.

 

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