DISTRACT brings together social science and data science methods to explore the political economy of distraction in the post-digital age. Combining qualitative and quantitative data, our interdisciplinary team investigates the mental, social and material techniques by which attention is captured, retained, and distracted in the world’s most digitized country, Denmark.

Fight for our attention



































Digital Detox Camps. Malene Hornstrup Jespersen. Presentation ICA Preconference: Digital Disconnection Studies Beyond Borders, Paris. 26 May, 2022.

The Role of Math in Social Science Research. August Lohse and Sofie Læbo Astrupgaard. Presentation for high school students at Roskilde Katedralskole. 3 Mar, 2022.

Symbiosis or exploitation: Alignment work as forms of Techcraft. Eva Iris Otto. Presentation at seminar with Technologies in Practice (TiP) group, IT University of Copenhagen. 9 Feb, 2022.

Studying and Theorizing the Political Economy of Attention in DenmarkMorten Axel Pedersen. Presentation at seminar with Technologies in Practice (TiP) group, IT University of Copenhagen. 9 Feb, 2022.

Mapping intra governmental conflict using document embeddings. August Lohse. SODAS Data Discussion. 26 Nov, 2021.

Earnings, Fertility and Gender Differences in Choice of Field: Evidence from a Large-Scale Survey and National Administrative Data. Helene Willadsen. Presentation at conference on Quantitative Educational Research in Denmark. 25-26 Nov, 2021.

Digital Methods and Qualitative Research. Kristoffer Albris. Presentation for DIIS-Tech group at Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS). 08 Nov, 2021.

Ethics: Data, Algorithms, and AI. Kristoffer Albris. Presentation to delegation from the Government of Brazil, hosted by DTU and DANIDA. 05 Nov, 2021.

”I wouldn’t be able to code without google”. Eva Iris Otto. Presentation at the Anthropology of Technology conference, Aarhus University. November 4-5, 2021. 

Watching people meeting: Systematizing qualitative approaches to data intensive fieldwork at the Danish Peoples Meeting. Emilie Munch Gregersen & Sofie Læbo Astrupgaard. Data Discussion, SODAS, UCPH. 08 Oct, 2021.

Dataetik i et datademokrati. Kristoffer Albris. Presentation at the Technical University Denmark. As part of the course Digitalisering, Data og Nye Teknologier, EVU course to public officials. 14 Sep 2021.

Selling the promise of presence: How Companies Promote Digital Disconnection and Detox Courses in Denmark. Kristoffer Albris. Presentation at Oslo University, the DIGITOX project. 21 Apr 2021.

What is data worth? Eva Iris Otto. Presentation to DJØF's Tech Commission. 19 Apr 2021.

Digital Technologies in a Danish Context. Kristoffer Albris. Presentation for delegates from Brazilian government, DANIDA scholarship programme, DTU Compute. 23 Feb 2021.

"Fieldwork in an online entreprise: following business projects on Slack, Whereby and Discord." Eva Iris Otto. Presentation to MA students in Global Development and Anthropology, University of Copenhagen, 04 February 2021.

"Using diaries and logbooks in a mixed-methods approach: Experience sampling, remote data collection, ”thick surveys”, quali-quant data." Kristoffer Albris. Presentation to MA students in Global Development and Anthropology, University of Copenhagen, 04 February 2021.

"Will Algorithms Be Our Doom?" Kristoffer Albris, presentation for Vejle Gymnasium, 9 December 2020.

"Made by Disasters: On the Social, Cultural and Political Responses to Extreme Events and the Changes that Follow in Their Wake." Kristoffer Albris, keynote presentation, annual conference at Copenhagen Centre for Regulatory Science, 23 November 2020.

"Computational Anthropology: Quali-quantitative Analyses of Attention Economies during the Covid-19 Lockdown", Morten Axel Pedersen, Annual lecture at University College London Centre for Digital Anthropology. 5 October.

“How We Tweet About Coronavirus, and Why: A Computational Anthropological Mapping of Political Attention on Danish Twitter during the COVID-19 Pandemic." Anders Blok. 8 September 2020. 

KULT network for ethnologists and anthropologists. Eva Iris Otto. 7 September.

"Escape from Covid Island: how online gaming is becoming our getaway from the pandemic." Anna Sapienza. 19 June, 2020. University of Copenhagen, SODAS Data Discussion.

"Lockdown ethnography: Using logbooks, self-reporting and emojis to study routines during the corona crisis." Emilie Gregersen, Sofie Astrupgaard and Malene Jespersen. 29 May, 2020. University of Copenhagen, SODAS Data Discussion.

"Is Attention Actually Finite?" Morten Axel Pedersen and Kristoffer Albris. 15 May, 2020. University of Copenhagen, SODAS Data Discussion.

"DISTRACT: The Political Economy of Attention in Digitized Denmark." Morten Axel Pedersen and Kristoffer Albris. Center for Information and Bubble Studies, 28 feb, 2020. University of Copenhagen.

"Anthrometrics: Mining Anthropology Journals." Kristoffer Albris, Terne Jakobsen and Morten Axel Pedersen. Presented at Machine Anthropology Workshop, 27-28 jan, 2020, University of Copenhagen.

"DISTRACT: The Political Economy of Attention in Digitized Denmark." Kristoffer Albris. Presented at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association, 22 nov, 2019. Vancouver, Canada.











Carlsen, Hjalmar Bang & Ralund, Snorre. (2022). Computational grounded theory revisited: From computer-led to computer-assisted text analysis. Big Data & Society. (Online first).

Breslin, Samantha, Anders Blok, Thyge Ryom Enggaard, Tobias Gårdhus, and Morten Axel Pedersen. 2022. “Affective Publics” Performing Trust on Danish Twitter during the COVID-19 Lockdown. Current Anthropology (online first).

Jonasdottir, S.S., Bagrow, J. & Lehmann, S. 2022. Sleep during travel balances individual sleep needs. Nature Human Behavior. (online first) 

Isfeldt AS, Enggaard TR, Blok A, Pedersen MA. 2022. Grøn Genstart: A quali-quantitative micro-history of a political idea in real-time. Big Data & Society. (online first).

Jonas Toubøl, Hjalmar Bang Carlsen, Marie Haarmark Nielsen & Benedikte Brincker (2022). Mobilizing to take responsibility: exploring the relationship between Sense of Community Responsibility (SOC-R), Public Service Motivation (PSM) and public service resilience during Covid-19, Public Management Review, E-Pub ahead of print. 

Andersen, D., Toubøl, J., Kirkegaard, S., & Bang Carlsen, H. (2021). Imposed volunteering: Gender and caring responsibilities during the COVID-19 lockdown. The Sociological Review. E-Pub ahead of print..

Albris K, Otto EI, Astrupgaard SL, et al. 2021. A view from anthropology: Should anthropologists fear the data  machines? Big Data & Society. Online first.

Sapienza A and Lehmann S. 2021. A view from data science. Big Data & Society. Online first.

Willadsen, H. & Jespersen, M.H. 2021. Student attention in the online school. Blogpost.

M.A. Pedersen, K. Albris & N. Seaver. 2021. The Political Economy of Attention. Annual Review of Anthropology, 50:1.

Bjerre-Nielsen A, Andersen A, Minor K, Lassen DD. The Negative Effect of Smartphone Use on Academic Performance May Be Overestimated: Evidence From a 2-Year Panel Study. Psychological Science. October 2020. doi:10.1177/0956797620956613

Clark, Nathan & Albris, Kristoffer. 2020. In the interest (s) of many: Governing data in crises. Politics and Governance, 8(4), 421-431.

Samantha Dawn Breslin, Thyge Ryom Enggaard, Anders Blok, Tobias Gårdhus and Morten Axel Pedersen. 2020. How We Tweet About Coronavirus, and Why: A Computational Anthropological Mapping of Political Attention on Danish Twitter during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Somatosphere: Science, Medicine and Anthropology.

Kristoffer Albris, Anders Blok, Hjalmar Alexander Bang Carlsen, Thyge Ryom Enggaard, Emilie Munch Gregersen, Majsa Stina Grosen, Tobias Priesholm Gårdhus, Annika Solveig Hedegaard Isfeldt, Mathilde Yung Meiling, Anna Helene Kvist Møller, Morten Axel Pedersen, Jonas Skjold Raaschou-Pedersen & Asger Hans Thomsen. 2020. Digital Klima-Aktivisme i en Skandinavisk Corona-Tid. Blogpost: https://coronakrisen.github.io/post6.html

Anna Sapienza, Malene H. Jespersen, Kristoffer Albris, Morten Axel Pedersen, and Sune Lehmann. 2020. Escape from COVID Island. Blogpost: https://coronakrisen.github.io/post4.html

Emilie Munch Gregersen, Malene Hornstrup Jespersen, Sofie Læbo Astrupgaard, Tobias Priesholm Gårdhus, Eva Iris Otto, Morten Axel Pedersen og Kristoffer Albris. 2020. Life Goes On - Sådan Da. Blogpost: https://coronakrisen.github.io/post3.html

Emilie Gregersen, Kristoffer Glavind, Morten Axel Pedersen, Sofie Astrupgaard, Thyge Enggaard & Tobias Gårdhus. 2020. Nedlukningen har ændret tonen og stemning i danske corona-tweets. Blogpost: https://coronakrisen.github.io/post2.html

Thyge Enggaard, Tobias Gårdhus, Anders Blok, Hjalmar Carlsen & Morten Axel Pedersen. 2020. Corona-diskussioner i det danske Twitter-landskab. Blogpost: https://coronakrisen.github.io/post1.html


Radio: P4 Nyheder. News report mentioning DISTRACT's data collection at the Danish People's Meeting. 17 June 2022.

Radio: P4 Morgen Bornholm. August Lohse is interviewed about DISTRACT's data collection at the Danish People's Meeting. 17 June 2022.

Podcast: Er du afhængig af din mobiltelefon? Kristoffer Albris on podcast discussing whether phones are addictive. Future Loading - Unge Samtaler om Valg. 26 May 2022. 

Newspaper article: Djøf's techkommission opfordrer regeringen til at sætte en dataetisk grænse for sig selv. Article discusses a recent report co-authored by Kristoffer Albris as part of DJØFs TechDK Kommission. Altinget.dk. 20 May 2022.

Newspaper article: Festen er både limen og benzinen i fællesskabet. Morten Axel Pedersen interviewed about the social aspects of parties. Nordjyske Stiftstidende. 10 Apr 2022.

Newspaper article: Ukrainere risikerer at begå krigsforbrydelser på sociale medier. Kristoffer Albris discusses the information wars in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Jyllands Posten. 5 Mar 2022.

Newspaper article: Zelenskyjs heltestatus trækker tråde til Churchill og Askepot. Kristoffer Albris discusses the heoric role of the Ukrainian president during the Russian invasion. Politiken Sektion 2 (Kultur). 3 Mar 2022.

Newspaper article: Det kan være en fordel for præsident Zelenskyj, at han har været "så ekstremt fjollet." Kristoffer Albris discusses the Ukrainian president. Politiken Online. 2 Mar 2022.

Radio: Facebooks Metaverse. Morten Axel Pedersen discusses Facebook's new platform. P1, Danmarks Radio. 19 Okt 2021.

Radio: Morgenmenneske: Corona og Adfærd. Kristoffer Albris discusses social behavior during the corona pandemic in Denmark. Radio 4. 22 Jul 2021.

Newspaper article: Sociolog: Coronatiden var et selvfølgelighedsbrud. Kristoffer Albris is interviewed about friendships during corona. Politiken, sektion 1, side 7. 30 Jun 2021. 

Newspaper article: Venskabet er på vej til at »overhale« kærligheden. Kristoffer Albris is interviewed about friendships during corona. Politiken. 29 Jun 2021.  

Podcast: "Det Gode Menneske". Kristoffer Albris on the podcast Brinkmanns Briks, on Danish Radio P1, hosted by psychologist Svend Brinkmann. 28 Apr 2021. 

Television: "Når Danmark Åbner". Kristoffer Albris is interviewed at a DJØF television event on what Denmark will look like after corona. The event also featured Søren Brostrøm, Svend Brinkmann, Lykke Friis, and others. 25 Mar 2021.

Online article: "Grin, syng, drik alkohol!": Tiden efter corona kan blive en frisk start for vores hårdt pressede venskaber. Kristoffer Albris is interviewed about friendship during the corona pandemic. ZETLAND. 26 Feb 2021.

Magazine article: Et år senere: Det lærte vi af corona. Kristoffer Albris is interviewed about our ability to adapt to a new normal during the corona pandemic. The Magazine I FORM. 18 Feb 2021.

Newspaper article: Har danskerne haft en luksus-lockdown? Her er, hvad Google afslører. Morten Axel Pedersen interviewed about Google search terms during corona. Berlingske Tidende. 17 Feb 2021.

Television: Aftenshowet DR1, Danish Broadcasting Service. Morten Axel Pedersen comments on Google search terms during corona. 15 Feb 2021.

Newspaper article: I 2020 kunne klimaet trække vejret: Det lærte vi om, hvad der skal til for at sikre grøn omstilling. Akademikerbladet. Anders Blok and Kristoffer Albris are interviewed on corona and climate politics. 20 Dec 2020.

Newspaper article: Children are not necessarily addicted to screens. Jylland-Posten. By Anne Marie Hastrup Kristensen. 02 Sep 2020. 

Newspaper article: Mobile phones and distractions in classrooms: nuances needed. Politiken. By Anne Marie Hastrup Kristensen. 20 Aug 2020.

Newspaper article: Farvel til Smalltalk. Weekendavisen. Kristoffer Albris is interviewed about the DISTRACT logbook study. 21 Jul 2020.

Podcast: Twitteranalyse i en Coronatid. On the podcast Data Snak. Morten Axel Pedersen and Thyge Ryom Enggard participated. 01 Jun 2020.

Radio: P1 Morgen. On Danmarks Radio (Danish News Corporation). Thyge Ryom Enggard participated and talked about DISTRACT's analysis of tweets during the corona lockdown. 27 May 2020.












Morten Axel Pedersen (PI), Professor

Morten Axel Pedersen
David Dreyer Lassen (Co-PI), Professor David Dreyer Lassen
Anders Blok (Co-PI), Associate Professor Anders Blok

Sune Lehmann (Co-PI), Professor

Sune Lehmann Jørgensen

Kristoffer Albris, Assistant Professor

Kristoffer Albris

Hjalmar Bang Carlsen, Assistant Professor

Helene Willadsen, Postdoc Helene Willadsen
Anna Sapienza, Postdoc
Eva Iris Otto, PhD Fellow Eva Iris Otto
Malene Hornstrup Jespersen, PhD Fellow
August Lohse, PhD Fellow
Sofie Læbo Astrupgaard, PhD Fellow
Anna Helene Kvist Møller, PhD Fellow
Thyge Enggaard, PhD Fellow (affiliated)
Maya Møller-Jensen, Research Assistant
Asger Hans Thomsen, Student assistant (affiliated)
Emilie Munch Gregersen, Student Assistant Emilie Munch Gregersen
Peter Gregory Mehler, Student Assistant picture of peter
Annika Johanne Bonk, Student Assistant picture of Annika
Magnus Nørtoft picture of Magnus

Read more about our people here



Events organized by the DISTRACT project

DISTRACT seminar with Associate Professor Ivan Konvalinka, DTU: Interpersonal synchronization as a framework for measuring self-other integration. 6th of May 2022. 

DISTRACT seminar with Professor Søren Kyllingsbæk, UCPH: Attention and Intentions. 25th of February 2022. 

DISTRACT publication retreat and workshop vol 2, Hornbækhus, 26-27th of January 2022.

POST-PLATFORM CAPITALISM? – rethinking the political economy of digital markets. International workshop, organized by Anne Mette Thorhauge, Andreas Gregersen, Eva Otto, Jacob Ørmen and Morten Axel Petersen. 20th of January 2022.

DISTRACT seminar with Professor Naja Hulvej Rod, UCPH: Smartphone Interrupted Sleep: A New Public Health Challenge. 10th of December 2021.

DISTRACT seminar with Associate Professor Andreas Lieberoth (AU/DPU): What do people mean when they talk about "screen time"? 19th of November, 2021.

DISTRACT seminar with Assistant Professor Signe Sophus Lai and Postdoc Sofie Flensburg, UCPH: Networks of Power: Analysing the political economy of digital infrastructures. 29th of October, 2021.

Studying the Digital Backlash, 22-23rd of September 2021. International seminar organized by Kristoffer Albris and Malene Hornstrup Jespersen in collaboration with Stine Lomborg, Department of Communication, UCPH.

DISTRACT seminar with Assistant Professor Olivier Driessens, UCPH: The in/visibility – in/attention complex: from collapse to intersection11th of June 2021.

DISTRACT seminar with PhD student Odysseus Stone, UCPH: What we care about when we care about attention: Insights from phenomenology and recent philosophy of attention28th of May 2021.

DISTRACT seminar with Post doc Paula Helms, University of Tübingen: Problematic use and addictive design – Towards distributed responsibility. 23rd of April 2021.

DISTRACT seminar with Associate Prof. Mariek Vanden Abeele, Tilburg University: Digital Wellbeing in a Culture of Ubiquitous Connectivity: Towards a Dynamic Pathway Model (DISCONNECT). 16th of April 2021.

DISTRACT seminar with Prof. Trine Syvertsen, University of Oslo: Intrusive media, ambivalent users, digital detox (Digitox). 29th of  January 2021.

DISTRACT seminar with Anna Sapienza and Sune Lehmann, University of Copenhagen and Technical University of Denmark (DTU): Large scale data from smartphone usage. 11th of December 2020.

DISTRACT seminar with Jesper Aagaard, Aarhus University, Department of Psychology: Digital distraction - how we handle digital technologies. 27th of November 2020.

DISTRACT seminar with Ulrik Lyngs, University of Oxford: Self-Control in Cyberspace: Examining Tools of Resistance in the Battle for Online Attention. 1st of November 2020.

DISTRACT publication workshop and retreat. Rødkilde Hotel. 18-19th of August, 2020.

Workshop: A New Fieldnote Standard in XML (part 2). 1st of May 2020.

Workshop on GDPR and data ethics with Prof. Peter Sandøe. 21st of April 2020.

Workshop: A New Fieldnote Standard in XML (part 1). 15th of April 2020.

Methods workshop with Laura Nelson. 24th of March 2020

Machine Anthropology Workshop. 27-28th of January 2020.







Funded by

Logo of the European Research Council

DISTRACT is funded by an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council. Period: 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2024

DISTRACT on social media


Head of project, professor Morten Axel Pedersen

Deputy head of project, assistant professor Kristoffer Albris