Global Digital Cultures

Research Priority Area, University of Amsterdam, 2020

Digitization is transforming cultural practices around the world, from friendship, intimacy and sexual relations, to the construction, targeting, and surveillance of publics. Digital platforms and mobile apps, such as Facebook, Tinder, YouTube, Instagram,  Netflix, the Russian platform VK, and the China-based WeChat, TikTok, and Tantan, have rapidly become central to the production, circulation, consumption, and monetization of culture. Given the profound changes brought about by digitization at the individual, group, and societal level, cross-disciplinary research with a strong sensitivity to cultural practices, techno-commercial transformation, and political-cultural diversity is urgently needed. This requires active collaboration across a wide variety of disciplines, including economics, political science, media studies, business studies, sociology, philosophy, anthropology, communication science, law, and psychology.


Global Digital Cultures will build a vibrant, interdisciplinary, UvA-wide forum for comparing and analysing the profound changes brought about by digitization at the individual, group, and societal level in different parts of the world. It will be organized through three targeted interdisciplinary work packages:

1. Consumption & Participation concerns the global variety of daily cultural practices developed by users of digital platforms and mobile apps.

2. Production & labor focusses on the (re-)organization of production and labor relations around digital platforms and mobile apps across the world

3. Security & citizenship explores how digitization enables new modes of public expression and collective action in different political-cultural regions, while simultaneously facilitating ubiquitous data-driven forms of surveillance.

To systematize the inquiry within and across these three work packages, the RPA will focus on four cross-cutting processes, which have been at the center of scholarship on the social, cultural, and political implications of digitization and platformization. The four processes are: 1) the reconfiguration of market relations, 2) the construction of data infrastructures, 3) the development of new modes of governance, and 4) the representation and imagination of the digital and digitization.


The RPA will be led by five PIs who will manage the core activities on a two year rotating basis. They are: Jeroen de Kloet (FGW), Marieke de Goede (FMG), Nachoem Wijnberg (FEB), Thomas Poell (FGW), and Olav Velthuis (FMG).

What to expect

The RPA will build a strong (local and global) research community on Global Digital Cultures through the following events: 1) research seminars, 2) soirees, 3) annual international conference & summer school. A core objective of the RPA is to involve junior scholars and mid-career colleagues, to further enable them to build collaborative relationships across faculty and university boundaries. We seek to developed a PhD community. In 2020, please look out for calls that allow you to apply for financial support in the form of research fellowships (to work on a larger grant proposal, article, or (part of a) book manuscript), and event grants (to organise a workshop, network event, exhibition, or small conference). Feel free to contact any of the PIs for further information.