About the Conference
The spread of digital technologies has contributed to a multi-faceted change of democratic orders, actors, and practices. At the intersection of long-term evolution of democracies and the emergence of social media, we observe a profound redistribution of communication and political power. Traditional mass media are losing their privileged position as gatekeepers of the public sphere; social media are establishing new norms of social relevance and simultaneously give voice to ideas, opinions, and actors, which used to be marginalized.
This development seems full of ambivalences. Thus, the changing conditions of communication have spawned a situation of democracy in permanent flux. The debate on how digital technologies have changed public spheres and impacted democracy has been scattered across different scientific disciplines, political arenas, and civil society. The 2020/2021 Annual Weizenbaum Conference “Democracy in Flux – Order, Dynamics and Voices in Digital Public Spheres” aims to bring together these various perspectives and seeks to initiate an interdisciplinary exchange on the linkages between digital public spheres and democracy.
About the Weizenbaum Institute
The Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society – The German Internet Institute is a collaborative project from Berlin and Brandenburg funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Coordinator of the consortium is the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB). The aim is to better understand the dynamics, mechanisms and implications of digitalisation.
To this end, the Weizenbaum Institute investigates the ethical, legal, economic and political aspects of digital change. This creates an empirical basis for responsible digitalisation. On the basis of the research findings, action options are developed for government, the economy and civil society, in order to shape the digital transformation in a responsible interdisciplinary manner.
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