New Research on Digital Societies

Management in Networked and Digital Societies (MINDS) Department

Our research projects

Posted on 16 Dec 2013 0 comments

Cultural norms and social organization in open collaboration communities.

(Sonata Bis, grant agreement no. UMO-2012/05/E/HS4/01498, budget 156k EUR)

Since there are apparent differences between the open collaboration projects and other forms of organization, and also since there are differences within the open collaboration communities, between the expert driven (e.g. FLOSS) and the non-expert ones (Wikipedia), there is an emerging research field, which so far has not been sufficiently delved into by researchers. The objective of the project, therefore, is to create a qualitative, interpretive analysis of organizational practices in non-expert open collaboration communities, on the example of three different Wikipedia projects (from different countries), and Twitter and Pinterest.


Organizational tension between gift economy and market logic

(Preludium, grant agreement no. 2013/09/N/HS4/03790, budget 21k EUR).

The aim of the project is to provide a description and interpretation of hospitality exchange networks such as CouchSurfing, focusing especially on the tension between market logic of a service unergoing commercialization and gift economy, on which the culture of the network seems to be based, and its consequences for the functioning and public reception. The focus is on the mutual influences between the micro and macro level of the organization – in the issue, how official organizational culture influences the interactions between individuals and the way they negotiate their meetings and how the interactions on micro-level may affect this very organizational culture. Since “offline” meetings of the users may pose a threat for its participants (to life, health, threat of property theft or simply feeling of discomfort), second important issue will be the formalization and bureaucratization of the organization, especially in the context of providing institutional framework for the meetings and increasing trust among users.


Museums and their virtual open collaboration communities

(Preludium, grant agreement no. 2012/07/N/HS4/02465, budget 35k EUR)

Even though both museum management and research on virtual communities date back quite long, at the intersection of the two disciplines emerges poorly explored research field, especially if one considers the context of communities of practice gathered around open virtual collaboration linked to particular museums, such as multilingual Virtual Shtetl, user-created “museum without barriers, a consequent extension of the real Museum” of The History of Polish Jews. Since during three last decades museums have changed from being predominantly custodial institutions to becoming increasingly focused on audience attraction, now in museum management new emphasis is placed on museum-audience interactions and relationships rather than on museum collection. Thus the emergence of Web 2.0 and, shortly after, of so called Museums 2.0 deepened the confusion about who the audience has become: the public? participants co-creators of the museum content equal to employed professionals? The objective of the project, therefore, is to create a qualitative, interpretive analysis of interactions between museums and non-expert open collaboration online communities of practice gathered around them. What organizational practices can be observed among the virtual community and museum professionals? How hierarchy, power and authority are being negotiated? When is the online community described as the audience, when – as the users or customers, and when – as equal contributors to the museum? How conflict trajectories are resolved in between hierarchical institution and a-hierarchical online community?

Network strategies of expert knowledge production on the Internet. Case studies of GMO and the zika virus

(Diamond Grant 2016, Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education, budget 35k EUR)

The research project is aimed at investigating processes of expert knowledge production, legitimization, and distribution in the age of the Internet. It relies on a case study of online information dissemination among different social agents, focusing on GMOs and Zika virus. The study is embedded in the socio-cultural context of evolving role of science and scholarly authorities today, and allows for a closer understanding of implementation of new technologies processes affecting social changes of larger scale. This interdisciplinary project is based on virtual ethnography and big data analysis, combining cultural anthropology, STS, and media studies, with organizational theory.


Decision support systems as co-workers of the future

This research project is  devoted to  social interaction of decision support systems (DSS and employees / members of the organizations that implement them (including collaborative support systems, including group support systems and virtual teams, as well as optimization based DSS and active decision suppor). Expert systems in general, and decision support systems in particular, are a perfect example of implementation of the postulates of artificial intelligence by simulating human behavior based on formal models. Expert system is defined as a set of computer programs that use the database and models of knowledge and inference rules in order to solve problems. The basic functions of expert systems include data interpretation, anticipating the consequences of decisions, diagnosis, monitoring, control the behavior of the system and the storage and use of the acquired knowledge. Research is carried out in the context of the ongoing process of introducing artificial intelligence in the area of social interaction with people, with particular emphasis on the interactions in the professional sphere, and in business.


The roots of transhumanism

This research project is  devoted to tracking the roots of transhumanism as a both methaphysical program and politica/organizational strategy. . Transhumanism’s goal is to fundamentally transform the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities. In this research I would like to link the transhumanist movement and human professional and social abilities. My attempt will be to track to what extent the transhumanist promise is translated into the current design of technologies that support people’s professional life.Transhumanism was born in the U.S. and majority of the most prominent figures of transhumanism are based there. Actually, contemporary meaning of the term transhumanism was foreshadowed by one of the first professors of futurology, FM-2030 who taught “new concepts of the Human” at The New School in the 1960s, when he began to identify people who adopt technologies, lifestyles and worldviews transitional to “posthumanity” as “transhuman”.  FM-2030, whose name was F.M. Esfandiary, became notable as a transhumanist with the book Are You a Transhuman?: Monitoring and Stimulating Your Personal Rate of Growth in a Rapidly Changing World, published in 1989. Starting from FM 2030 I would like to reconstruct the birth and development of transhumanism until now.


Politics in online tabloids in the US, UK, and Poland

(Miniatura 2017, National Science Centre grant no. 2017/01/X/HS6/00252, budget 10k EUR)

United States, United Kingdom, and Poland, three very different democratic states have been witnessing a significant right-wing shift in the recent years. In all these three countries, predictions made in official polls proved wrong in face of elections—presidential and parliamentary elections in Poland in 2015, as well as presidential elections in the US in 2016—and the British Brexit referendum in 2016. However, major online tabloids, Gawker/Gizmodo Media in the US, Mail Online in the UK, Pudelek in Poland, which mix celebrity and entertainment news with political coverage, showed a much more sensitive ear towards the voters, publishing articles that proved to be better predictors of the elections’ outcomes. Thus, the analysis focuses on opinions voiced by journalists and editors from these online tabloids, juxtaposed with opinions made by online commenters beneath articles covering political topics in Gawker/Gizmodo Media, Mail Online, and Pudelek. This research aims to reveal some of the underlying beliefs concerning fundamental social values, coming from an often-ignored source: what a good society, state (and journalism) should be.


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