The Global Digital Publics Initiative (GDPi) is a collaborative endeavour of the Alfred Deakin Institute and the School of Communication and Creative Arts.
We are a multidisciplinary group of scholars and draw our membership from across the fields of communication, cultural studies, criminology, digital media, anthropology, political science, sociology and creative practice.
We have diverse expertise and work with qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches. Across our members are experts in large systems thinking, empirical analysis of big data, technological mapping, data visualization and social modelling, cultural analysis, immersive ethnography, critical theory and gamification.
We are driven to understand the variety of ways in which technological mediation is transforming relationships between people and places and enabling new, social and political formations, new concepts of self and personhood.
We pursue critically engaged and nuanced understandings of the distinctive power relations and inequalities at work in these processes, as well as the possibilities for transformation pursued through new digitally enabled associations.
At a time when profound destabilisations are felt across the world, we ask how might we make sense of and refigure relationships of care, belonging, and politics in transforming cultural circumstances?
Our Research Themes
Turbulence, transformation, displacement and new forms of placemaking
At the broadest level in this theme,
We look to understand how modes of communication are associated with distinctive ways of being human and organising societies.
We research transformations in relationships between persons and between persons, places and non-humans that accompany accelerations in technological mediation.
We explore the consequences of digital mediation, especially the portable forms of media that travel with persons.
We recognise that transformation can be understood via attention to the specificities of the present, as well as via longer historical and intergenerational perspectives.
We recognise ‘the global’ as a problematic category and look to identify the specificities of mediated relations, as well as the spaces of relative autonomy they might enable.
We observe that instabilities make space for dissent and disruption. We document emergent forms of community resistance, social networks, inter-faith movements and the cultivation of new affinities and empathies across distance.
Some of us document the increasingly widespread incidents of digitally mediated iconoclasm, the destruction of sacred places and heritage sites and the circulation of acts of destruction to a global public.
We track transformations in the workings of power, recognising that decentralised networks can be just as coercive a centralised models.
Modelling and Monitoring Citizenship and Political Culture
Under this theme:
We document transforming constellations of society, culture and state and associated relations of power.
We host substantial research expertise in participatory culture as a distinctive condition of the digital age.
We investigate the effects of digital culture on a range of organisational forms and democratic institutions.
We work with communities who are disaffected and marginalised from mainstream political processes and we explore the diverse activist movements and counter-publics that are emerging via digital communications.
We recognise that global publics are targeted and controlled, but can also produce particular material exclusions and effects.
We are interested in how digital technologies figure in the experiences of the differently abled, and in the expanding gulf between citizens and non-citizens, wealthy and poor.
Some of us are engaged by communities of interest that are largely invisible and surface temporarily. These new counter-publics adopt modes of activism that mimic the flow of digital information and require new kinds of conceptualisation.
We have research strengths in tracking transnational transformations in journalism, in understanding shifting geopolitics of media ownership, and in grappling with the consequences of the emergence of citizen-produced media.
In pursuing empirical understandings of the workings of digital media, some of us are especially focused on surveillance and securitization, and on relationships between technology, governance, and law.
The membership of the Global Digital Publics Initiative spans from across the fields of communication, cultural studies, criminology, digital media, anthropology, political science, sociology and creative practice.
Local Journalism in a Digital World
By Kristy Hess and Lisa Waller
The Dynamics of News and Indigenous Policy in Australia
By Kerry McCallum and Lisa Waller
Chinese Social Media
Edited by Mike Kent, Katie Ellis, Jian Xu