The Data, Communications and New Technologies (DCT) Pathway supports the development of cutting edge frameworks for understanding interactions between social groups and the evolving digital landscape, as well as novel applications to support them. Its interdisciplinary research agenda addresses broad societal challenges:
- The changing nature of the social, economic and political context of data and information production, dissemination and use; core themes include the non-neutrality of metrics and algorithms that shape our understanding of society;
- How social dynamics shape and are shaped by the new digital landscape, involving new models of engagement with societal issues, such as social media activism and surveillance, the coexistence of hybrid modes of communication, and the tensions between fundamental rights introduced by emerging social practices in the digital world;
- How social actors experience and make sense of the new digital landscape, including the experience of digital daily practices and datafication and silences in the new digital landscape introduced by digital forgetting and organisational secrecy.
The above challenges require interdisciplinary approaches across information science, sociology, media and communication studies, journalism, linguistics, science and technology studies. The pathway promotes and supports the innovative exploration of new forms of data and methodological innovation, involving syntheses of ‘interface methods’, including multimodality, discourse analysis and digital methods for social research, such as social media data mining, visual analytics and visualisation. It addresses the ethical challenges in researching social interaction in the new digital landscape.