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Research sprint examines “digital self-determination” in increasingly interconnected world

Research sprint examines “digital self-determination” in increasingly interconnected world

Students from around the globe consider digital self-determination and its meaning and impact on individuals, peoples, cultures, and countries

The Digital Asia Hub and Berkman Klein Center are launching a Spring 2021 “Research Sprint” this week with a global cohort of 25 students participating from 21 different countries spread over 6 continents, in collaboration with the Global Network of Internet & Society Centers (NoC). It brings together collaborators from the two co-hosting organizations and their global partners to explore the evolving normative concept of digital self-determination as an enabler of—or at least contributor—to the exercise of autonomy and agency in the face of shrinking choices in a world that is increasingly constructed, mediated and at times even dominated by digital technologies and digital media, including the underlying infrastructures, questions of control, power and equity become more critical. 

Collage of portraits of all Research Sprint participants

The Research Sprint will examine how the notion of digital self-determination is invoked as a term to describe the possibility and realization of human flourishing as it relates to the use of digital technologies and their affordances. While questions of control over personal data will be a cross-cutting theme throughout the Sprint, other important dimensions of self-determination in the digitally networked will be examined as well, for instance with regard to self-expression and participation in civic life and the digital economy, or relationship-building and well-being, to name just a few application areas. 

Participants will work collaboratively with peers and experts from around the globe to produce a living repository that highlights the personal, social, cultural, and technical contexts that includes readings, case studies, examples, and narratives that together provide a thick description of the evolving notion of digital self-determination and its normative context. The outputs will be open access and also serve as a resource for an emerging thematic network on digital self-determination led by the Directorate of International Law at the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with the Office for Communications of the Swiss Federal Department of Environment Transport, Energy and Communications.  

The Sprint follows earlier efforts, including BKC’s Fall 2020 Sprint on COVID-19 and Access to Education and Learning Spaces, and contributes to the NoC’s Ethics of Digitalisation initiative under the patronage of the German Federal President and with support by Stiftung Mercator. The Research Sprint is one program out of many that the Berkman Klein Center hosts to engage and train students as co-designers and leaders exploring the impact of digital technologies. Other programs at the Center that also embody our interdisciplinary educational efforts include Assembly, Summer Institute, and the Youth and Media Project.

BKC is proud to announce our 25 graduate student participants from over twenty countries.


​Karolina Alama-MarutaKarolina Alama-Maruta 
Discipline: Privacy and Data Protection Law

Red dotKawsar Ali 
Discipline: Cultural Studies (Critical Race and Digital Studies)

Rachid BenharrousseRachid Benharrousse
Discipline: Cultural Studies

Hei Yin ChanHei Yin Chan 
Discipline: Political Science

Ana Margarida CoelhoAna Margarida Coelho
Discipline: Communication Sciences

Leonid DemidovLeonid Demidov
Discipline: Digital Communications

Maria Francesca De TullioMaria Francesca De Tullio
Discipline: Constitutional Law

Alexandra GiannopoulouAlexandra Giannopoulou
Discipline: Law

Tomás Andrés GuarnaTomás Guarna 
Discipline: Comparative Media Studies

Martyna KalvaitytėMartyna Kalvaitytė
Discipline: Digital Public Policy

İdil Kulaİdil Kula
Discipline: IT Law

Zachary MarconeZachary Marcone
Discipline: Law and China Studies

Derguene MbayeDerguene Mbaye
Discipline: Computer Science / Natural Language Processing

Hillary McLauchlinHillary McLauchlin
Discipline: Social Science of the Internet

Samreen MushtaqSamreen Mushtaq 
Discipline: Gender Studies/Political Science

Arej MwassiAreej Mawasi 
Discipline: Learning Sciences and Educational Technologies 

Narayanamoorthy NandithaNarayanamoorthy Nanditha
Discipline: Digital Activism within Gendered Communities in the Global South

Ka Man NgCarmen Ng
Discipline: Politics & Technology

Oluwatimilehin OlagunjuOluwatimilehin Olagunju
Discipline: Digital Policy and Research

Temitayo OlofinluaTemitayo Olofinlua
Discipline: Culture and Media Studies with a Focus on Social Media

Mary Rhauline TorresMary Rhauline Torres
Discipline: Law and Technology

Jean-Baptiste ScherrerJean-Baptiste Scherrer
Discipline: Law of Creation

Eraldo Souza Dos SantosEraldo Souza Dos Santos
Discipline: Philosophy

Christian ThönnesChristian Thönnes
Discipline: Law

Constanza Vidal BustamanteConstanza Vidal Bustamante
Discipline: Psychology



About the Global Network of Internet & Society Centers

About the Ethics of Digitalization Project

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Digital Self-Determination Research Sprint

From March to May 2021, we co-hosted a virtual program that convened 25 student participants from 21 countries spread over six continents.

The Ethics of Digitalization

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Research Sprints

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