A Digital Future of Resilience: What Can We Learn from Ecological Thinking?

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Due to the nomadic character of digital technology, digitalization easily crosses modernistic boundaries of nation, organization, industry, lifeworld, mind, and body, increasingly interconnecting everything with everything However, such hyper-connectivity makes it difficult to trace and explain the broader dynamics of digitalization; important relationships and their systemic effects may therefore go unnoticed and, as we are all too aware from climate studies, will turn runaway and eventually come back to haunt us in the future with potentially catastrophic intensity, making it ever more difficult to course correct A myriad of examples already give testimony to the possibility of such a dire digital future, ranging from the polarization of political discourse through
Facebook to the colonization of urban neighbourhoods through Airbnb In response, I draw on ecological thinking and principles to expand upon possibilities for tracing and explaining the wide reaching, boundary crossing effects of digitalization and the runaway dynamics they may lead to. As ecological thinking is based on a radically, anti-modern philosophy that promotes connection over division, heterogeneity over homogeneity, and participation over exclusion, it has the potential to increase the responsiveness of our sociological conceptualizations towards the overarching, systemic effects of digitalization. However, while such thinking lends itself to critiquing technological attitudes of quick-fixes and exploitation, it has yet to demonstrate
its potential for guiding alternative practices towards a better digital future Hence, I will focus on possible avenues for developing such practices by discussing the notion of “resilience” as a guiding principle of digitalization. In more detail, I will elaborate on notions of diversity, hyperconnectivity, slow feedback, and participation as central categories for a more desirable digital
future that is more responsive to a world increasingly marked by precarity and crisis.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2023
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventXX ISA World Congress of Sociology: Resurgent Authoritarianism: The Sociology of New Entanglements of Religions, Politics, and Economies - Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 25 Jun 20231 Jul 2023
Conference number: 20


ConferenceXX ISA World Congress of Sociology
LocationMelbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
Internet address


  • Digital ecology
  • Digital society
  • Political ecology
  • Resilience
  • Runaway dynamics
  • Systems thinking

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