Can communicative practices help ‘vulnerable’ communities in times of change?

By Dounia Mahlouly|May 25, 2020|Latest news, Research, The Middle East|0 comments

Philosopher Martha Nussbaum once wrote that playful storytelling “teaches people to be capable of living with others without control; [and] connects experiences of vulnerability and surprise to curiosity and wonder, rather than to crippling anxiety” (2010, p. 101). Her work on vulnerability has helped critical communication scholars shift their focus away from the structural power of media, which has been overstudied, to organic and informal communication practices that can enable

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What does it mean to “muck in?”

By Matti Pohjonen|March 9, 2020|AI, Digital cultures, Research|0 comments

Environmental philosopher Timothy Morton criticises what he calls a “beautiful soul syndrome” sometimes still prevalent in Academia. By this he refers to a kind of critical attitude that tries to look at the world from the safety of detachment, without getting one’s hands dirty, without compromising one’s own ideological purity. He writes that a truly theoretical approach is not allowed to sit smugly outside the area it is examining. It must mix thoroughly

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Politics of seeing

By Matti Pohjonen|February 12, 2020|AI, Digital cultures, India, Research, Social media|

“Knowledge is a practical assemblage, a ‘mechanism’ of statements and visibilities.”  — Deleuze People often ask why I bother learning the algorithms and technologies that drive today’s AI innovations – I am a digital anthropologist after all and not a hard-baked computer scientist.  Should I just not focus on the bread-and-butter of qualitative research – thick description, deep contextual knowledge of cultures, in-depth understanding of the nuances of language –

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Reconciling Ethics and Policy Impact

By Dounia Mahlouly|August 6, 2019|Extreme speech, Media and Syrian conflict, Research|0 comments

In recent years, debates on global and national security have to a large extent relied on reviving the political terminology introduced by the post-9/11 War on Terror. Discourses underpinning the American-led intervention in the Syrian Civil War and media coverage of the 2015-2017 terrorist attacks in Europe have further established the normative, limiting and often-biased language of ‘Counter-terrorism’. Along with general concerns over misinformation, the threat of ‘terrorist’ propaganda is

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Global Digital Cultures and Extreme Speech

By Matti Pohjonen|July 15, 2019|Digital cultures, Extreme speech, Research|0 comments

I am glad to announce the publication of a Special Issue on Global Digital Cultures and Extreme Speech published in the International Journal of Communication.  This is the outcome of a five-year collaboration with colleagues across the world committed to advancing a more comparative perspective to ongoing debates on online hate speech and violent online political extremism — and most notably collaboration with Professor Sahana Udupa at the Digital Dignity Project, at LMU

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Should robots control what we read?

By Matti Pohjonen|July 4, 2019|AI, Digital cultures, Extreme speech, India, Research, Social media|0 comments

For somebody who has been following digital politics globally for more than a decade now, it is sometimes uncanny how hateful, violent and misleading communication – or at least the public and political controversies and moral panics around them – now dominates the global political landscape. Digital media, it seems, is imagined in mostly terms of the dangers it poses: violent extremist propaganda run amok; democratic processes corrupted by disinformation

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Student showcase: “The Digital Identity”

By Matti Pohjonen|June 11, 2019|Digital cultures, Research, Students, Video|1 comments

As a part of the course work at the Centre for Global Media and Communication, we encourage students to explore old academic debates in new and creative ways.  For instance, in the Global Digital Cultures MA degree that I convene, this option has been built into the digital assignments that students engage with throughout the year.  Such assignments allow the students both a breather from more rigid classical form of academic

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Artifical Intelligence in Ethiopia? Yes. Really.

By Matti Pohjonen|June 7, 2019|AI, Digital cultures, Latest news, Research|

When I boldly announce to people that I am starting new research on artificial intelligence (AI) in Ethiopia, a common response to this has been: “Ethiopia?  AI? But why there?” My response to this has usually been: “Oh, exactly because this question gets asked!” Indeed, breakthrough advancement in AI technology is predicted to transform every aspect of how people live, work and communicate globally.  These debates about what the digital

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Social media and shifting perspectives on security challenges to migration and human trafficking

By Dounia Mahlouly|May 10, 2019|Digital cultures, Latest news, Research, Social media|0 comments

Is there a role social media can play in shifting perspectives on security challenges and approaches to migrant smuggling and human-trafficking in North Africa?  Such a question, I suggest, is becoming more relevant because security perspectives and policies, particularly in the context of migration, are taking shape in a climate of anti-immigration sentiment, racism and xenophobia, which feeds into the securitisation of the humanitarian crisis around North African migration. So

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Social media and political polarisation

By Matti Pohjonen|May 9, 2019|Digital cultures, Extreme speech, Research|0 comments

Recent attacks in Christchurch and Sri Lanka have added fuel to the debate about how to resolve what has been described as one of the most intractable problems of the contemporary world – the spread of hate/hateful speech online. However, as some of our recent research  shows, what perhaps is a more intractable  (and often overlooked) problem than merely removing aggressive or hateful comments from social media is the challenge of

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