The lab „Sustainability in digtal societies“ addresses three central challenges of current digital societies: a) the challenge of sustainability, b) the use of digital data and its infrastructures, and c) the shaping of digital societies by media activism and social movements.
The primary focus of the lab is on the research field “sustainability and digital media”. Here, the interplay of media practices, media technologies and sustainability is investigated. Against the background of the problematization of the socio-ecological consequences of current digitization and datafication processes, media practices of individuals, non-governmental organizations and companies, through which society should be made more sustainable are examined. Repairing media technologies, promoting sustainability in media content and producing fair media technologies are some examples of such practices. The role of media technologies for sustainability will be increasingly in focus. The role of media technologies in digital societies forms an intersection with a second focus of the lab, which focuses on “data practices and digital infrastructures.” Here, in the context of digital capitalism, data practices that critique current practices of surveillance capitalism and seek to make online communication processes more secure through encryption are examined alongside socio-ecological implications of digital infrastructures. Media practices that target sustainability and data security are practiced not only by individuals but also by collectives and social movements – social entities that are also studied by the lab. Thus, a third research focus of the lab is in the field of “media activism and social movements.” Here, the lab examines not only how social movements appropriate media for networking and mobilization, but also how they shape media as organizations and technologies – with the goals of sustainability and data security, among others. The lab also examines how the Covid 19 pandemic has changed social movements and media activism.
Institutionally, the lab is not only located at ZeMKI but also at the artec Research Center for Sustainability at the University of Bremen and the Bremen Research Center for Energy Systems (BEST). The lab brings a communication and media studies perspective to these interdisciplinary research contexts and here, conducts research on questions of energy in digitization and datafication processes as well as on translocal mediated networks in politics, business and science in the field of renewable energies. Therefore, the lab addresses some of the most crucial challenges of current digital societies that have to be dealt with urgently.