On May 20-21, the Westminster Institute for Advanced Studies (WIAS) will house some of the world’s leading scholars to discuss research, critique and activism in the age of big data capitalism. 

The symposium, “ICTs and Society: Digital Objects, Digital Subjects”, will engage with the possibilities, potentials, pitfalls, limits and ideologies of the digital world. Ten keynote speakers at the symposium will engage with questions of the digital sphere in respect to activism, research and critique.

Presenters will include Antonio Negri, who is one of the world’s leading philosophers, and the renowned political scientist Jodi Dean.

The symposium will explore the risks, limits and contradictions digital media and big data pose for contemporary society as well as alternative uses of new technologies. It will discuss whether data and the digital realm enable new research approaches and bring about a better society or result in new risks and a digital positivism that threatens the independence of critical research.

The symposium is co-convened and chaired by Professor Christian Fuchs, who is Director of the Westminster Institute for Advanced Studies (WIAS) and Director of the Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI), and David Chandler, Professor of International Relations at the Centre for the Study of Democracy and the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Westminster.

Professor Chandler said: “The University of Westminster is increasingly the home for critical digital studies, across an exciting range of disciplines. The Centre for the Study of Democracy is delighted that our research cooperation with WIAS and CAMRI is being showcased on such an important global stage. I am very much looking forward to engaging with leading authorities in the field in setting the critical research agenda for digital studies over the coming years.”

Professor Fuchs commented: “Big data and social media are among the newest digital media developments. We often hear that they bring radical opportunities for businesses, democracy and society, and fundamentally transform the way we do research. This symposium takes a different approach and brings together critical voices that will discuss the risks, limits and alternatives posed by digital media in an age of rapid political and social change.”

Read the full conference programme.

To register for the event and read keynote speaker abstracts, please visit the ICT and Society website.

For questions and requests about the symposium, please email Denise Rose Hansen at [email protected] 

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