Social, political and economic changes


Research Proposal 1. Social, political and economic changes


Research Group

Social challenges in datafied societies.
 A challenge of datafied societies is the impact of stereotypes and design biases on automated, algorithm-based decisions. The final goal is to theorize data justice and power distribution particularly, but not exclusively, in relation to age-based discrimination (ageism). The aim is to understand how the uncritical use of big data reinforces stereotypes and discrimination. For instance, when a face recognition system for job recruitment proves to be racist, sexist or ageist.
How do automated decisions deprioritize, disregard or disempower minorities and disadvantaged collectives by not considering their values, interests, and habits?

Digital practices in old age

We invite candidates to use a cross-national longitudinal study (three waves of data: 2016, 2018, and 2020; 7 countries; as a starting point to theorize the role digital communication plays in different stages of old age, particularly in (post-) COVID-19 times. How does accelerated digitization shape old age and the ageing process? Are there new strands of empowerment? What (new) digital inequalities do older individuals face?


Digital platforms in Latin America. 

This research proposal aims at analysing the social challenges of digital lean platforms from the intersection of two approaches: the political economy of platforms from a datafied perspective on one side, and critical platform studies on the other. The primary geographical focus is on Latin America, either at a country or regional level. The goal is to contribute to the strand of studies on big data from the Global South with situated theoretical reflections based on solid empirical analyses.

Political Deliberation on social media and platforms.

The aim of this research line is to analyse how political parties and their associated networks (followers, sympathizers, factions, civic associations, social movements, opponents) are using social media. Are they contributing to a deliberative public sphere or are they just channels for propaganda and polarization? The methodology to be used is content analysis, network analysis and big data, as well as qualitative techniques.

Dr. Rosa Borge Bravo CNSC

Political participation through digital platforms.

The aim of this research line is to analyse the changes that digital platforms are bringing into processes of participation initiated by governments and public administrations. Which participatory processes are being developed the most and why? What barriers do participatory platforms face in their development? What platform designs are needed for democratic improvement? Could platforms substitute governments? The methodology to be used is analysis of specific cases and comparison among different cases. 
Dr. Rosa Borge Bravo CNSC

Technopolitics and the future of democracy.

This line looks at the various ways in which technologies (especially digital technologies) and politics shape each other today, what their various configurations are, and what the resulting alternative futures of democracy are. The line moves from foundational problems in political theory and philosophy of technology up to specific movements such as Black Lives Matter or projects of networked democracy such as, which we co-founded.

Critical analysis of digital societies and everyday life.

This line critically analyses the various ways in which technologies (especially digital technologies) and society shape each other today, and what is the present and future of the latter in light of this relationship. It moves from foundational problems in social theory and science, technology and society studies up to cases such as the conditions, forms and impacts of digitalization, and its relationships with everyday life.

Communication and politics in the age of big data.

This research line carries on an interdisciplinary (social and complexity sciences, qualitative and quantitative, narrative and network-based) analysis of the dynamics and transformations of social communication today, its digital conditions (e.g., platforms), forms (e.g., fake news, multitudinous identities), and impacts (e.g., authoritarianism, autonomy).


Platform economy: From platform capitalism to platform cooperativism. 

The Dimmons research group at IN3 (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya) focuses on socio-economic and gender innovation connected to the challenges and opportunities opened up by the digital revolution sphere, and more concretely, on the collaborative economy and the commons. Emergence and economic implications of collaborative production, the configuration of a new production model based on open knowledge, level of economic activity and business models associated with platform economy, both from an alternative platform cooperativism perspective and a platform capitalism one. The analysis is based on a feminist economics framework, connected to commons studies, social innovation and the social economy.
Dr.  Mayo Fuster 

Research action oriented and participative Methodological innovations.

Open science and methodological innovation emerging from the collaborative economy and action-oriented frameworks applied to research. Theorisation and empirical analysis of innovative research practices.
Dr.  Mayo Fuster 

Feminist digital economy.

The Dimmons research group at IN3 (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya) focuses on socio-economic and gender innovation connected to the challenges and opportunities opened up by the digital revolution sphere, and more concretely, on the collaborative economy and the commons. The analysis is based on a feminist economics framework, connected to commons studies, social innovation and social economy. The project will build a framework of gender and feminist qualities of the digital sphere and apply empirical cases to local ecosystems that connect digital transformation, the social economy and feminist movements.
Dr.  Mayo Fuster 

Equality plans in digital platforms.

The project will analyse the existing framework and practices connected to equality and diversity in digital platforms, from both a capitalist and a social-oriented approach, with an action-oriented perspective methodology. 
Dr.  Mayo Fuster   Dimmons

Sharing food.

Analysis of innovation digitally based applications and collaborative sharing dynamics connected to food sovereignty, from the perspective of both the ecosystem of practices and public policies.

Dr. Ricard Espelt 


Dr.  Mayo Fuster 


Interaction with technology for health at micro, meso or macro level: Implementations and assessment. 
We all use information and communication technologies for work, leisure and health. Our particular interest is in evaluating and understanding how (and why) people access/use information, applications or devices to take care of their own health (at individual or population level). We also want to support healthcare professionals when making decisions at micro, meso or macro level. More specifically, we are interested in:
  • Interaction with technology for health from a sociological perspective.
  • Implementation of digital health interventions at a meso or macro level.
  • Assessment of the quality of health information available through information and communication technologies; also mechanisms that people use to manage the information.
eHealth Lab Research Group

Sustainable and smart mobility.

In the context of climate change, digital transformation, increasing congestion and changing consumption patterns, the planning of mobility policies is suffering significant transformations. We are looking for candidates that would like to analyse sustainable mobility systems and policies.

Ethical leadership and gender.

Aviation is facing significant challenges in terms of climate change, environmental reputation, new patterns of regional and international mobility, and technology developments. We are looking for candidates that would like to analyse the different sustainability dimensions of aviation, which include economic, environmental and social aspects. 
Dr. Natalia Cugueró-Escofet Suma

Aviation Sustainability.

Culture diversity and ethical values in organizations remain a significant challenge for both small and medium-sized enterprises and large corporations. We are looking for candidates that would like to explore societal changes related to work practices, and analyse new practices in talent management and technology solutions that focus on cultures that place ethics at the centre.

Political theory and technology.

This research line emphasizes theoretical questions on how contemporary processes of change such as those derived from technology and other global trends affect our understanding of classical questions addressed in the field of political theory, such as democracy, freedom and equality.

Second Chance Education and Institutional Agents. 

he main goal is to understand and improve the pathways and processes of youth at risk of limited employment (YARLE). The approach aims at intertwining macro and micro variables, and in particular the role of key community agents (local enterprises, TSOs, high schools, among others) and the spread of second chance schools locally and internationally.