Inequality and Digital Sovereignty

Research Group 8

The term digital sovereignty has been used to describe a new model for people and collectives in the digital world that focuses on competences, duties and rights. The research group uses integrative approaches of practice-oriented design research to investigate the constitution and coordination of personal and collective scope for action and decision-making with regard to their use and appropriation on the one hand, and their designability on the other.

The term digital sovereignty has been used for some time to describe a new model for people in the digital world that focuses on the competencies, duties, and rights of the individual in times of increasing data analysis, profiling and dwindling privacy. The surveillance and espionage activities of numerous national intelligence services revealed by Edward Snowden illustrate the relevance of this problem area, in which politicians and organizations have recently put the definition and safeguarding of European citizens’ digital sovereignty on the agenda at European and national level.

The research group is dealing with three central questions:

  • How and why do forms of digital service usage differ among social groups and segments of society?
  • Which forms and conditions of digital sovereignty are there?
  • What are the consequences of a lack of sovereignty in the digital world?

The research group synthesizes various research approaches. Survey knowledge and fun-damental information about current developments in the various topics of digital sovereignty will be generated by methods of literary and discourse analysis and complemented by qualitative and quantitative methods.

In addition, various methods of design research will be applied, on the one hand to analyze concrete, local structures empirically and participatively, and on the other hand, following the approaches of action research and research through design, to examine the object of research with the group’s own experiments, interventions, and designs. In addition, the group’s own positions and contributions to the discourse will be formulated not only by developing networks and prototypes, for example, but also performances and exhibitions.


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