Data, Communication and New Technologies (DCT)

Supporting the development of cutting edge frameworks for understanding interactions between social groups and the evolving digital landscape.

The Data, Communications and New Technologies (DCT) Pathway focuses on key contemporary challenges emerging at the intersection of technology and society. Our research investigates how social dynamics shape and are shaped by digital data and infrastructures, involving new models of engagement with societal issues. We are particularly interested in:

  • The changing nature of the social, economic and political context of data and information production, dissemination and use, looking at core themes like metrics and algorithm bias and their shaping social practices and understandings of society;
  • The evolving relationship between digital platforms and corporate and state regulations, in the context of projects investigating, for instance, platform governance, surveillance or censorship.
  • Everyday experiences and tinkering with digital platforms through the Internet of things (IoT) like in  social interactions, self-tracking activities or identity practices;
  • The relationship between technology and social change in both the “Global North” and the “Global South”.

The above challenges require interdisciplinary approaches across information science, sociology, media and communication studies, journalism, linguistics, geography and science and technology studies. The pathway is particularly keen on supporting methodological innovation, offering advanced training in digital methods for social research, such as social media data mining, practice oriented digital hacking, visual methods and critical approaches to big data. It also provides expert training in social media research ethics.

Pathway Governance Team

Dr Stefania Vicari

Pathway Director, University of Sheffield

Dr Tom O'Brien

Deputy Director, University of York

Matthias Revers

Matthias Revers

Deputy Director, University of Leeds