For this year’s conference, the Academy of Sociology called on researchers to provide substantive empirical research, methodological discussions, or theoretical contributions on digitalization with respect to all aspects of social life. We invited researchers from all social sciences, data science and further disciplines to contribute to the conference.
Following is a non-exclusive list of examples for topics and questions for the conference.
Please note that the conference also reserves time slots for contributions that do not explicitly focus on digital societies (in form of open sessions). All submissions have been sorted in one or two of these topics (including the open category) by the authors.
- Labor markets and industrial organization. Digitalization is widely expected to radically shift labor markets and industrial relations. To what extent are these expectations warranted by empirical findings? Can human labor be replaced by robots in various fields and across different skill levels? What new job types might possibly emerge in digital societies?
- Families and demography. Social media, assistance systems, and other modern technologies have the potential to affect family dynamics and demographic processes. Also, digital trace data enable researchers to estimate population processes at finer geographic and time scales and to provide estimates where reliable administrative data are not available. How are demographic processes affected, measured and modelled in digital societies?
- Digital economy and emergent markets. Beyond labor markets and educational requirements, digitalization has vastly boosted markets for new products and services. Market access gets easier and transparency of market transactions grows while data becomes more and more tradable. How are markets for data structured? What are the consequences of a growing connectedness of providers/products/services and consumers/clients/users?
- Media and communication. Digital devices are widespread and change the way we use media, their contents, and the way people communicate with each other. What are the consequences for daily interaction, community building and societies in large? How can one distinguish true from fake news? How does anonymity influence how we interact online, especially with respect to civility and etiquette?
- Political interference and mobilization. Digital technologies are discussed to promote democracy and transparency, as they may foster participation and mobilization, but also to entail the potential for targeted attacks and manipulation. How do these changes affect trust in political institutions? How are digital techniques used for political movements? How can digital manipulations of democratic processes be detected? And how is collective behavior triggered by digital communication?
- Surveillance and manipulation. As more and more aspects of social life are digitally tracked, digital giants like Google, Amazon, and Facebook as well as state authorities can increasingly monitor and influence behavior of citizens and consumers via digital traces and the application of (mostly secret) algorithms. What degree of legitimacy do people attribute to these developments? How do these developments affect individual freedom? And what reactions do these developments elicit from citizens and consumers?
- Education. From primary to tertiary education, digitalization is seen as both a challenge to traditional ways of learning and teaching and as a potential enhancement of education, e.g. by allowing for more individualized and competence-based learning. How do educational systems at all levels react to digital skill requirements? And how is the content of educational programs and the way people learn affected by the process of digitalization?
- Social networks. Digitalization facilitates new means of observation, and social media and electronic market places create new forms of interactions and associations between users and products. How do these developments affect the collection and analysis of social networks?
- Social inequality and digital divide. In principle, digitalization renders information and knowledge borderless. Yet, differences in internet coverage across social groups and societies in fact still makes for a restriction. What kind of digital divides can be observed in societies with high vs. low internet coverage? How does access to online information affect transnational migration processes?
- Computational social science. The continuing growth of storage and computing power opens up new possibilities for data mining, statistical analyses, and simulation, but also brings new unique challenges. How do these developments influence empirical social research and new modeling techniques?
- Big data and traditional survey research. All developments mentioned above are documented by massive amounts of process oriented data. How reliable are those trace data? Can we use trace data to learn about collective behavior? Can we match them with traditional ways of doing social science in experiments and surveys?
The submission deadline ended on April 30, 2019. All submissions are currently under review by the organizing committee (single-blind). Acceptance decisions will be communicated by May 20, 2019. Presentations are restricted to 20 minutes (including discussion).
All (presenting) authors must also register as an attendee.