Digital Civil Society Conference | Oct. 31 – Nov. 1

We depend on digital infrastructure, online information ecosystems, and networked data systems in ways that challenge the notion of independent or private civic participation.

Successful political protest, voluntary collective action, and nonprofit service delivery increasingly depend on practical understandings of how the digital environment works.

Scholarship on civil society and democracy must account for the digital political economy in which associational life now takes place, and must assume the digital capacities of individuals and organizations are commonplace, not exceptional factors.

The Digital Civil Society Lab will examine these complexities in a two day conference in Fall 2019. The event brings together scholars, civil society actors, and industry experts to examine the depth and breadth of ways that our dependence on digital systems shapes civil society action, new forms of civil society activity that are digitally original, and the digital issues and spheres in which civil society now regularly engages.  This cross-sectoral, cross-disciplinary conversation is designed to capture both the breadth of relevant scholarship and the urgency of practice and policy in conversations that can benefit all.

There are many areas of research and literature across many disciplines, from computer science work on fair algorithms to management studies of digital labor, legal analysis of associational rights to communications scholarship on content moderation that speak to the concept of digital civil society. We seek to draw perspectives from a wide range of scholarship to consider the nature of associational life in democracies in our time of digital dependence. The conference will be structured to ensure a rich cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral conversation. We will use the following questions – and more – to animate the two-day event.

  • Are our associational opportunities, institutions, and practices changing as digital systems reach into so many aspects of our lives?
  • How do our online and offline activities and identities factor into these associational opportunities?
  • What are the legal and regulatory questions (and answers) to our digital/analog associational practices?
  • What forms of technological, organizational, regulatory or behavioral adaptations or innovations are developing, and how do they affect their larger democratic contexts?

This conference is invitation-only, learn more about the conference by clicking here.