27 September 2021

Studying the Digital Backlash: International seminar organized by DISTRACT

On the 22nd and 23rd of September, DISTRACT hosted an international seminar entitled Studying the Digital Backlash.

The aim of the seminar was bring together scholars from media and communication research, anthropology, computer/data science and other disciplines, that share an interest in what has in recent years come to be known as the "techlash" or "digital backlash". 

Given the relative novelty of this digital backlash, empirical case studies and comparative analyses of the different guises that such a backlash might take are so far sparse. By focusing on mapping the social, cultural, and political nuances of these novel and evolving critiques of the digital, this seminar aimed to bring together various approaches to study and theorize the digital backlash and critiques of the digital, including emerging fields such as disconnection and post-digital studies. The invited speakers presented state of the art empirical research on the growing critiques of datafication, as well as on more mundane practices of regulating the terms of engagement with digital media or outright disconnection from all things digital.

The seminar was organized by DISTRACT researchers assistant professor Kristoffer Albris and PhD student Malene Hornstrup Jespersen, in collaboration with associate professor Stine Lomborg from the Department of Communication, University of Copenhagen. The workshop was organized as a hybrid event online and at the Faculty of Social Science, Center for Society and Health (CSS). The following speakers presented papers and projects:

The ‘good life’ of remote work: the case of Italian ‘south working’. Alessandro Gandini, University of Milan.

The Human Error in AI and the Conflicts over Algorithmic Profiling. Veronica Barassi, University of St. Gallen.

Attention by Design: Course-Corrections for Wandering Minds. Natasha Dow Schüll, New York University.

Media panic? Media resistance? Lifestyle politics? How to understand digital detox activism and movements against intrusive digital media? Trine Syvertsen, University of Oslo.

Considering the workplace as site of media refusal. Christoffer Bagger, University of Copenhagen.

"Where has my cognitive prime time gone?" Understanding Digital Self-Control Struggles and Appropriate Interventions. Ulrik Lyngs, University of Oxford.

Below are some photos from the seminar: