Press release: Working group on (in)visibility in the digital age begins
Bochum, 28 August 2018
Academics met for a two-day workshop at the Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS) in Bochum on 16 and 17 August 2018 to launch the working group “Hide and see(k) – visibility in the digital age”. Consisting of researchers from German, Austrian, Swiss, and Swedish universities, the group will study the importance of visibility and invisibility in the digital world.
The working group is concerned with the question: What is the significance of (in)visibility in the digital world, how does it arise, and what implications does it have for individual actors, organizations, and processes relevant to society? During the workshop at CAIS, members of the working group discussed different perspectives and approaches to (in)visibility in the digital age, and how these can be captured theoretically and methodologically. The themes covered included both current phenomena such as “Hate Speech”, which is used to intimidate and threaten people visibly, and socio-political aspects such as the question of how individuals and organizations can deal with the advancing visibility (intentional or unintentional) of a large amount of data traces.
Through their collaboration, the researchers aim to give a permanent anchorage to the thematic area in the scientific and public discourse. During the workshop, joint research projects were therefore planned, as well as further work steps such as lectures and publications. Members of the working group thereby laid the foundations for further intensive and focused work together on this important thematic area.
Background of the working group:
In times of digitalization, visibility and invisibility are becoming important categories to describe and explain communication, especially on the Internet, with three dimensions being particularly relevant here: the visibility of data, which is about the conditions of the accessibility and availability of information; the visibility of persons and institutions, which raises questions about their ability to speak and their opinion leadership; and the visibility of structures and processes, which is about what becomes visible in digital communication, and what is consciously or unconsciously made (in)visible.The working group comprises scholars from German, Austrian, Swiss, and Swedish universities. Its members work on central areas of media and communication studies, and represent different theoretical and empirical approaches, which allows for the concept of “visibility” to be dealt with in a comprehensive manner.