Researching the role of emerging technologies, data and platforms in contemporary mediated societies.
Bringing together expertise across the Department, we engage with the role of emerging technologies, data and platforms in contemporary mediated societies. Our work is aligned with connecting societies and culture, one of our grand challenges in research, the living and working in the digital age research priority and the digital innovation research theme.
Research in the Digital Societies group is constantly changing, reflecting the nature of digital mediation in contemporary societies. We currently have projects running in three cross-cutting strands.
Datafication, platforms, the internet of things and emerging technologies such as 5G
Work in this strand focuses on the implications of datafication, big data, the internet of things and new technologies such as 5G for contemporary media communications, everyday lives and social research. This includes:
- Ranjana Das’s AHRC-funded media and communications project on the Future of Audiences in relation to datafication and the internet of things
- A large body of funded work by Nigel Gilbert and CRESS colleagues, including the current HomeSense project, on the use of sensors in social research (itself a collaboration with the University’s 5G Innovation Centre), and previous work such as WholeSEM (which also involved Tom Roberts, who is developing research on digital technologies in the home)
Intersections of society and digital technology
This strand includes a range of projects that each explore the relationships and intersections of digital technologies with different aspects of contemporary societies, from science and knowledge, to crime, to youth cultures and peer to peer production. This includes:
- Christine Hine’s work on technologies and society, particularly on cyberscience, knowledge and expertise online and on the transfer of social relations between online and offline forms of communication
- Mike McGuire’s work on cybercrime and the relationships between crime and technology
- Paul Hodkinson’s work on youth and social media falls within this strand
- CRESS projects such as P2PValue also fall under this area
- Interest in digital methods of research, exploring intersections between society and technology
- Work by current and former PhD students, notably Jo Smith’s work on online harassment of feminists, Emily Setty’s examination of youth and sexting, David Rozas’ exploration of peer-to-peer production in Drupal and Acheinu Iseko’s work on the social media use of professional employees.
This strand centres on the way digital technologies increasingly are integrating with people’s everyday management of aspects of life related to health and wellbeing, from sleep monitoring, to the use of social media for information and support. It also includes work that explores the playing out of health controversies on social media. This includes:
- Rob Meadows’ and Christine Hine’s work on the Sleep, Ethics and Social Media project
- Work by Ranjana Das on the internet and maternal mental wellbeing
- Paul Hodkinson and Ranjana Das on social media and paternal mental health
- Research by Ranjana Das on recent controversies on social media, experimental health treatments and public opinion fall into this strand too.
Impact on teaching
As well as being embedded throughout the curriculum, this includes cutting edge specialist teaching on datafication, algorithms and the internet of things as well as the broader role of the internet in society, the analysis of media and digital technologies and the relationships between crime and technology.