Projects

I have conducted research projects exploring histories of media participation, media memories as well as civic engagement with and through social media. Currently I am mainly invested in two projects:

Folkhemmet 4.0: algorithmic automation of the welfare state

The project investigates the increasing implementation of automated decision-making in the public sector with the help of algorithms. Based on interviews with heads of unit, civil servants, software developers and citizens, the project investigates the algorithmic imaginaries, algorithmic implementations and algorithmic implications of automated decision-making in the Swedish public sector. Bringing empirical and theoretical approaches from the field of algorithm studies to the sociology of the welfare state and public administration research, the project contributes new knowledge on how digitalization potentially changes the relationship between institutions for public administration, civil servants and citizens. Relying on a multi-case study approach that compares automated decision-making in three public sector institutions (social services, the employment services and the social insurance agency), the project will highlight the increasing delegation of tasks to algorithms that constitutes our contemporary algorithmic culture. It will provide important background knowledge to develop guidelines and strategies for the further implementation of automated decision-making while situating this form of digitalisation in a broader context of societal change and the restructuring of the welfare state.

Prison Media: the role of prisons for media infrastructures

Prisons evoke both repulsion and fascination. They, therefore, figure prominently as sites in popular entertainment, for example in movies, series and novels. It is less known that prisoners have contributed considerably to our media in a very material sense as well. They have built the telegraph system; produced envelops and mailbags for the postal system; have been part of the printing industry; and repair shops for radio and television sets were an important part of prisons. Beyond this media work, prisoners are also objects of surveillance technologies that are spread with slight variations to the broader society. Ankle monitors have been remediated as fitbits and other self-tracking devices. CCTV technologies that increasingly integrate artificial intelligence have been developed for prisons and are now increasingly build into smart cities and smart homes. These contributions are here captured in the notion of prison media: media developed in and for the prison. Drawing on archival material on the development of prison media, in-depth interviews with staff of the Swedish Prison and Probation Services and observations at prison technology exhibitions, the project aims to explore prison media from a historical and contemporary perspective and ask for the political implications of media infrastructures and technologies being built, developed, maintained and repaired in the context of incarceration.