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The Department of Digital Design and Information Studies within the School of Communication and Culture at Aarhus University invites applications for a postdoctoral position in digitalisation and citizenship. The postdoc position is affiliated with the research project SHAPE – Shaping Digital Democracy funded by Aarhus University.

The postdoc position is a full time and fixed-term position. The position begins on 1 September 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter. The position ends on 31 December 2023.

The School of Communication and Culture is committed to diversity and encourages all qualified applicants to apply regardless of their personal background.

SHAPE

SHAPE – Shaping Digital Democracy is Aarhus University’s newly established centre, which aims to promote digitalisation that supports democracy and citizenship. Based on an interdisciplinary research agenda, SHAPE will provide knowledge that qualifies the public and political debate by informing decision-makers, legislators and other relevant actors, and deliver concrete technologies, methods and guidelines that support digital citizenship. SHAPE builds on a strong Scandinavian tradition of research in democracy and information technology (IT) and combines critical perspectives on IT with action-oriented approaches based on citizen involvement in the development of IT. SHAPE investigates how the digital citizen is defined and managed partly in the welfare state and partly on tech giants’ social media platforms. In addition, SHAPE’s purpose is to develop digital citizenship by focusing on activism and citizen-engaged IT development. Through interaction and cross-fertilisation between several sub-projects, SHAPE will provide a holistic understanding of the digital citizen and digital citizenship, which is highly needed in a Danish and international context. 

Postdoc position

The position will be part of the work package: Digital Citizenship. The aim of the project is to conduct research that furthers the theoretical and empirical understanding of the digital representation of citizens – ‘the digital double’. The object of study is the main Danish digital citizen portal: https://www.borger.dk/. A central concern of the project is to deepen our knowledge about how citizenship is affected and transformed by digitalisation and datafication and especially how vulnerable citizens are affected. An important objective of the SHAPE project is to contribute to and engage in the public debate and understanding of how digital infrastructures and data affect society, democracy, citizenship and subjectivity. Therefore, the aim of this particular project is to make visible the qualities, power and politics of a main digital infrastructure, borger.dk, and thereby make it more accessible to and debatable for the public.

The successful applicant will be expected to carry out a research project on digital citizenship. The proposed project is described below, but applicants are encouraged to further develop or offer an alternative to the project in their application (max. 2 pages). 

The project has three parts: 1) study and describe the history, rationale and decision-making behind borger.dk by analysing the political, technical and public discourses that form the basis of the portal, 2) conduct an overall (not detailed!) infrastructure study of borger.dk that unpacks how the infrastructure is configured, its data sources and flows and main algorithms, 3) conduct an ethnographic qualitative study with a small number of citizens (approx. 10) focusing on their experiences as users of the portal. 

Deadline: 07 June 2022 

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