Digital infrastructures and the platforms that operate on them are firmly in private-sector hands. With a few exceptions, these are market-dominating companies such as Google or Amazon. Jan-Hendrik Passoth,
Sociologist of Technology, explores the consequences of this dominance for competition and freedom of choice, but above all for democracy and civil society. The online lecture will be held within the Leibniz Media Lectures
series as part of the Hamburg sub-institute of the Research Institute Social Cohesion
. The lecture will be held in German.
4.00 - 6.00 p.m.
The event will take place online on Zoom. Dial-in details will be provided after registration
shortly before the event begins. Participation is free of charge.
About the Lecture
Digital infrastructures and the platforms that operate on them are firmly in private hands. Apart from a few exceptional cases, these are market-dominating companies such as Google or Amazon, and increasingly also new, equally dominant Chinese competitors such as Baidu or Tencent. The consequences of this dominance for competition and freedom of choice, but above all for democracy and civil society, have been discussed in detail in recent years, and in Europe in particular regulatory measures are being taken with initiatives such as the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act, and strategic measures are also being taken with the Digital Compass 2030, which has just been presented. However, their focus is primarily on a combination of regulation and industrial policy - or in a nutshell: protection, punishment and subsidy. Based on this observation, the lecture will address the question of how, in addition, alternatives to digital infrastructures can be promoted and strengthened that are oriented toward the common good, European fundamental rights, and democratic values and procedures.
About the Speaker
Jan-Hendrik Passoth is Professor of Sociology of Technology and Science & Technology Studies at the European New School of Digital Studies
at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder. He works on the role of digital infrastructures for democracy and politics, on software development as a responsible social practice, and on the possibilities of intervention in and criticism of digitization projects through critical design.