Sixteenth Annual Conference in Citizenship Studies: Technology and Citizenship
Technology—the use of it, exposure to it, protection from it, and even the absence of protection from it—has direct influence on the access people do, or do not have to the full rights and benefits of citizenship. For example, advances in health care technology have long had direct implications for citizenship, with access to medical interventions in birth and death at the center of debates over the rights of the unborn and the dying.
The revolution in information technology and widespread use of social media raises a different set of issues in the study of citizenship. Widespread use of social media has disrupted and displaced the public sphere, reshaping how citizens engage each other, transforming how they exercise their rights as citizens by doing such things as recording police encounters or mobilizing to protest or raising awareness of issues. Social media use has also been shown to be susceptible to exploitation and a spread of misinformation that undermines the meaningful exercise of citizenship rights.
Among the many questions raised for citizenship studies by uses of technology: What have been the consequences and what are the implications of advances in artificial intelligence for how the boundaries of citizenship are drawn? How are rights, obligations, and privileges shaped by uses of different kinds of information technologies such as mass media, print media, and social media? In what ways does citizen access to infrastructure technologies such as electricity, sanitation, or transportation shape experiences of freedom and public power? How do uses of computing, information, and infrastructure technologies shape not only citizens’ relationship to public power but also the ways societies constitute and conceive of both the state and the citizen?