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Knowledge for Change

Upcoming events:


Knowledge for Change #4

Professor José van Dijck, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands

Title: Reflections on Responsible Digital Societies
When? June 8th, 2018, 13.15-15.00.
Where? Niagara, room B2, Malmö University.
The event will be moderated by Professor Jay David Bolter, Georgia Institute of Technology and Malmö University.

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The growing pains of digitisation involve intense struggles between competing ideological systems and contesting societal actors — market, government and civil society — raising important questions like: Who is or should be responsible and accountable for anchoring public values in digitised and dataficed societies? Online digital platforms, which are overwhelmingly American-based and operated, have penetrated every sector of American and Western-European societies, disrupting markets and labour relations, circumventing institutions, transforming social and civic practices, and affecting democracies. Online platforms paradoxically bypass the institutional processes through which European democratic societies are organised, while at the same time they clash with local, national and supra-national governments over who controls data-flows and algorithms. 

Online architectures are governed by platform mechanisms such as datafication and commodification, mechanisms that are penetrating a large number of private and public sectors. Public sectors such as health and education are particularly vulnerable to the commercial values inscribed in online architectures. Public values and the common good are the very stakes in the struggle over the platformisation of societies around the globe. But how can public values be anchored in digital societies — both in terms of technological systems and in governance? 

This lecture concentrates on the position of European (private and public) interests vis-à-vis the interests of an American-based online ecosystem, driven by a handful of high-tech corporations. At the heart of the online media’s industry’s surge is the battle over information control: who owns the data generated by online social activities? Particularly in the European context, governments can be proactive in negotiating public values on behalf of citizens and consumers. 

About Professor José van Dijcks
José van Dijck is a distinguished university professor at the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands,  and the current president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her academic discipline is media studies and her field of interest is the digital society. She received her PhD from the University of California in 1992. Her work spans a wide range of topics in media theory, media and communication technologies, social media, and digital culture. 

She is the author of six books, three co-edited volumes and approximately one hundred journal articles and book chapters. Her book, The Culture of Connectivity. A Critical History of Social Media was distributed worldwide and her new book, co-authored by Thomas Poell and Martijn de Waal,The Platform Society. Public values in a connective world, will be published in August.

Knowledge for Change #5

Professor Ananya Roy, University of California, Los Angeles.

Title: Liberal Democracy and its Racial Others: The West in the Age of Trumpism
When? October 10th, 2018, 15.15-17.00
Where? Orkanen, D131, Malmö University, Nordenskiöldsgatan 10, Malmö.

Abstract — Liberal Democracy and its Racial Others: The West in the Age of Trumpism:

 "The resurgence of right-wing political ideology, both in the United States and across Europe, has engendered a new examination, and defense, of liberal democracy.  In this talk, I analyse the specific formations of xenophobia, Islamophobia, and white supremacy that make up Trumpism and that are also echoed in many other political regimes around the world.  Rather than interpret Trumpism as a decisive rupture with liberalism, I foreground the colonial history of the West to demonstrate that liberal democracy has always been constituted through conceptions of the “racial other.”  The present historical conjuncture makes evident the lie of integration and urgently demands new imaginations and practices of radical humanism.  Drawing on the work of past and current freedom struggles, I outline such formations of resistance and their implications for the future of democracy." 

About Ananya Roy
Ananya Roy is Professor of Urban Planning, Social Welfare, and Geography and Inaugural Director of the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at the University of California, Los Angeles where she also holds The Meyer and Renee Luskin Chair in Inequality and Democracy. Roy’s research and scholarship has a determined focus on poverty and inequality — in the cities of the global South and North and in relation to world-systems of development and financialisation. Her book, Poverty Capital: Microfinance and the Making of Development (Routledge, 2010) is the recipient of the Paul Davidoff book award which recognises scholarship that advances social justice. Roy’s most recent book is titled Encountering Poverty: Thinking and Acting in an Unequal World (University of California Press, 2016).

What is Knowledge for Change?

With an ambition to strengthen the pivotal role of knowledge and science in society, Malmö University has set out to host a series of top quality seminars. With a total of six seminars, the series will highlight topics related to societal challenges. 

They will offer participants:

  • lectures by internationally top renowned keynote speakers;
  • seminars with selected researchers from Malmö University and external stakeholders; and
  • a series of articles related to the keynote topic.

In 2018, Malmö University not only celebrates its 20th Jubilee but will also be granted government funding to extensively build on its reputation within the research arena. Knowledge for Change is one of a number of visionary steps of action to strengthen science and science’s close connection to postgraduate and undergraduate education at Malmö University.

The seminars will focus on how universities can scrutinise, challenge and help find solutions for societal problems. Our ambition is to inspire cross-disciplinary discussions and cultivate relations and alliances both in and outside of academia — locally and globally. Ultimately, we aim at positioning science and universities’ roles in the development of society.

Knowledge for Change will be coordinated by Pro Vice-Chancellor and Social Work Professor at Malmö University, Tapio Salonen. Upcoming seminars, keynote speakers and further details will be announced in due course. 

Last updated by Per M Eriksson