Vulnerabilities of knowledge orders: Digitalization and social order
Daniel Houben & Bianca Prietl
Workshop at the Swiss Sociological Association (SSA) Congress, September 9 to 11, 2024
Knowledge orders are constitutive of social orders. As countless studies have shown, recent developments in digital technologies, social media and artificial intelligence are changing the production, verification, communication and appropriation of knowledge with unprecedented vehemence. When data, information and knowledge are de-contextualised, “facts” seem to be artificially producible everywhere and established epistemic hierarchies are increasingly challenged, the relative character of truth is revealed once again; even more so, the vulnerability of knowledge orders and thus the vulnerability of social orders as a whole becomes evident. In the face of fake news, algorithmic bias, large language models or image-generating AI, the production of collective certainties also seems increasingly vulnerable today.
Against this background, the workshop would like to focus on these vulnerabilities of knowledge orders and discuss the following – and related other – questions:
• How do vulnerabilities of knowledge orders currently manifest themselves and how are experiences of vulnerability dealt with?
• What does this new vulnerability of knowledge orders mean for social orders? Which areas of society are affected by this more recent development and in what ways?
• What is considered (un)certain in times of increased use of digital technologies for knowledge production and circulation?
• Which procedures are considered legitimate for making truth claims?
• Which – also non-human – actors are acknowledged as producers of knowledge?
• Which elements of established knowledge orders seem worth protecting and are being sought to (re-)stabilize?
• How do current vulnerabilities of knowledge and social orders interact with power relations?
We welcome conceptual, methodological and empirical contributions in English (or German).
Keywords: knowledge orders, digitalization, AI, social order
Deadline for abstracts of one page (in English or German) is the 15th of January 2024, to be sent via mail to the workshop organizers.
Daniel Houben, Professor für Digitalisierung in der Sozialen Arbeit, Fakultät Soziale Arbeit, Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften Landshut, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bianca Prietl, Professorin für Geschlechterforschung mit Schwerpunkt Digitalisierung, Departement für Gesellschaftswissenschaften, Universität Basel, email@example.com