9th Conference on Sociocybernetics

published on July 21, 2009

On June 30th, Wolfgang Hofkirchner gave a presentation at the International Sociological Association’s Research Committee on Sociocybernetics annual meeting. The 9th Conference on Sociocybernetics was titled “Modernity 2.0 – Emerging Social Media Technologies and their impacts” and held in Urbino. Hofkirchner presented a paper on how the system theoretical perspective can advance the understanding of Internet’s potential for community building.

(Abstract: „Community – Where to from here? From ‚networked individualism’ to ‚community networks’“: In her 2006 book titled “Technically Together”, Michele A. Willson raises the following concern: “As relations are mediated or become more abstracted from concrete embodied interactive forms, … they become thinner and potentially more instrumental, thus undermining the possibilities and spaces for mutuality” (86).
Though she does not make explicit use of system theoretical or cybernetic concepts, it seems easy to reconstruct her argument in a system theoretical or cybernetic perspective. This is what the paper aims at.
The notion of “community” shall be clarified as a system theoretical concept expressing an emergent property. The impact of the new Web tools on the formation of communities shall be reviewed. Willson’s assumption of an overlay of the forms of community by which the predominant form is considered as influencing the others will be endorsed. In contradistinction to “communities of practice” and “communities of interest”, a concept of “communities of action” will be formed to denote true communities that strive for solving the integration–differentiation dilemma by the application of the system theoretical principle of unity-through-diversity.)

"ICT, Society and Human Beings 2009"

published on July 21, 2009

At the IADIS International Conference “ICT, Society and Human Beings 2009” at Algarve, Portugal (17 – 23 June 2009), Wolfgang Hofkirchner chaired a panel on “Approaches towards ICTs and Society – Theories and Methodologies”. Inputs came from:

– Gunilla Bradley, School of ICT, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm: “A Convergence Theory on ICT, Society, and Human Beings”

– Lorenz Hilty, Technology and Society Lab, EMPA, St. Gallen: “ICT and the Issue of a Third Industrial Revolution”
– Alice Robbin, Rob Kling Center, Indiana University Bloomington: “A Preliminary Inquiry into the Methodologies Employed in Research on ICTs and Society”
– Eduard Aibar, IN3, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona: “New Theories and Old Mistakes: A Critical Analysis of Information Society Conceptualizations from an STS Point of View”
– Wolfgang Hofkirchner, ICT&S Center, University of Salzburg: “A Taxonomy of Theories about ICTs and Society”
The papers will be published soon in triple-c.

IFIP TC 9 Working Group

published on July 21, 2009

The IFIP TC 9 Working Group on ICT and Sustainable Development, headed by Lorenz Hilty, met at Algarve, Portugal on June 20th. Woilfgang Hofkirchner participated in the meeting.

Workshop in Bangkok

published on April 29, 2009

The eTheory unit of the ICT&S Center was awarded a grant from the Asean-European University Network (Asea Uninet) for a workshop titled: “Towards criteria of sustainability and social meaningfulness in development”, which will take place in Bangkok, Thailand in fall 2009. The objective of the workshop is to discuss current developments in the field of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and Sustainable Development (SD) by providing a forum for Austrian and Asian researchers interested in broadening and deepening the understanding of the sustainability concept with the goal to achieve social meaningfulness. The invited researchers from Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, together with Wolfgang Hofkirchner and Robert M. Bichler from the UTI Research Group, tend to identify indicators for sustainability and meaningfulness of ICTs and formulate policy recommendations for their implementation. The two days workshop will take place at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, where „The Center for Ethics of Science and Technology“ acts as the local partner.

For more information, please contact Robert M. Bichler

New EU Project

published on February 25, 2009

The UTI Research Group is the Austrian representative in the ESF COST Action "LIving in Surveillance Societies" (LISS)

Coordinator: Christian Fuchs

For more information, please click here.