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Intensive course: Digitalisation norms: basics, legal norms, communication norms

PhDnet Begriffe und Konzepte

In connection with digitalisation issues, it is often demanded that one must also deal with them normatively, that ethical questions must be taken into account, and so on. But what is meant by this? What constitutes an ethical, what constitutes a legal perspective, what are norms in the first place, how do moral, legal and other norms differ? How do norms influence the expectations of actors, how do they come into effect and how can they be justified? And how do norms shape themselves in a specific area, for example in (digital) communication on political issues?

The introductory intensive course on norms of digitalisation is aimed at doctoral students working on digitalisation topics who have not yet dealt with the basics of normative questions. Based on three different disciplinary approaches (philosophy, law, communication studies), participants will acquire the ability to reflect theoretically on the concept of “norm” and to understand it in digitalisation-specific application contexts. The knowledge acquired can also be used to question one’s own academic work in terms of the extent to which it directly or indirectly refers to norms or is shaped by them. The course is structured accordingly in three parts:

  • (Conceptual) foundations of normativity: What are (moral, legal, other) norms, what function do norms have? What is morality, what is ethics? What problems are there in justifying norms? What is “ethics by design”?


  • Digitalisation law for non-lawyers: I. Basics of legal theory (e.g. What is law? What distinguishes legal regulation?), II. Basic knowledge of constitutional law (e.g. hierarchy of norms, structure of the state, constitutional principles) and III. Main features of the law of digitalisation (How is the law challenged by digitalisation – here using the example of data protection law)


  • Normative expectations of digital political communication – An application example for normative considerations: What normative expectations are placed on digital political communication? Where do these expectations come from? Which statements are judged to be violations of communication norms? What conclusions can be drawn from this in relation to the moderation of online discussions and in relation to the regulation of political communication?


10:00 – 11:30: (Conceptual) foundations of normativity

11:30 – 11:45: Coffee break

11:45 – 12:30: Digitalisation law for non-lawyers

12:30 – 13:30: Lunch Break

13:30 – 14:15: Digitalisation law for non-lawyers

14:15 – 15:00: Normative expectations of digital political communication

15:00 – 15:15: Coffee Break

15:15 – 16:00: Normative expectations of digital political communication

Registration: phdnet@cais-research.de

The PhDnet workshop series on terms and concepts of digitisation is aimed at PhD students who wish to acquire a basic understanding of current theories and discourses in digitisation research.

The workshops are designed to be interdisciplinary, understandable and introductory in nature. For example, questions such as “What is artificial intelligence?”, “How do algorithms actually work?” or “What are the ethical, legal and social challenges of digitisation research?” are dealt with.

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