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On Friday, 27 March 2020, the University of Amsterdam will kick-off its new research priority area ‘Global Digital Cultures’ (GDC). Researchers and students from all faculties at the UvA are warmly invited to this one-day event at the REC. There will be keynote speeches by Louise Amoore (Durham University) and Marleen Stikker (, as well as plenary discussions, breakout sessions, and information on new seed funding for interdisciplinary research and events.

Digitisation is transforming cultural practices around the world - from the way it is changing  norms of friendship, intimacy and sexual relations, to how it enables new modes of public expression and collective action, while simultaneously facilitating ubiquitous data-driven forms of surveillance. Digital platforms and mobile apps, such as Facebook, Tinder, YouTube, Instagram, the Russian platform VK, and the China-based sites WeChat, TikTok, and Tantan, have rapidly become central to the production, circulation, consumption, and monetisation of culture. GDC will critically explore these developments from a broad interdisciplinary perspective, combining insights from the social sciences, humanities and economics. The research area will be coordinated by Thomas Poell (Media Studies) and Marieke de Goede (Political Science), together with Olav Velthuis (Sociology), Jeroen de Kloet (Media Studies), and Nachoem Wijnberg (Amsterdam Business School).

Areas of investigation
There will be three main areas of investigation within GDC. Consumption & Participation will look at shifts in how people connect with each other, express their identities, and develop tastes and preferences. The domain of Production & Labour will cover new types of platform-based work, as well as shifts in market structures and worker protections. Finally, Security & Citizenship will examine how digitisation enables new modes of public expression and collective action, while also facilitating data-driven forms of surveillance. A key objective across all areas will be to bring in perspectives and comparisons from beyond the West.

To help set the agenda for GDC, Louise Amoore of Durham University will deliver a lecture during the Kick-off meeting on 27 March. She will discuss her forthcoming book Cloud Ethics (Duke, 2020), which analyses the social and technical conditions under which algorithms emerge and operate. We will also welcome Marleen Stikker, co-founder of ‘The Digital City,’ who will speak about her new book The Internet is Broken - But We Can Fix It (de Geus, 2019). Subsequently, through plenary discussions and breakout sessions, opportunities for cross-disciplinary research on the RPA’s three domains will be explored.

“We aim to build a vibrant, interdisciplinary, UvA-wide community for comparing and analysing the profound changes brought about by digitisation across the globe,” say Poell and de Goede. “We invite both senior researchers and PhD students to get in touch and attend our upcoming events.”

The kick off will take place on 27 March from 9:30 – 17:00 in REC C1.03.

Other upcoming GDC events:

  • Soirees - discussing key publications, followed by drinks and dinner - on Tuesday, 14 April and 30 June at Kapitein Zeppos from 6 pm onwards.
  • Research seminars - discussing work-in-progress papers, while enjoying lunch - on Friday, 15 May and Friday, 12 June at REC from 12 until 2 pm.
  • Annual Conference on Global Digital Intimacies, scheduled 21-23 October. CfP will soon be published.