Mirko Tobias Schäfer / Assistant Professor
University of Utrecht Department for Media and Culture Studies


Featured Blog Entries

Date March 2015 / Category News

The symposium "The Datafication of the Public Sphere" at Angewandte Innovation Lab in Vienna provides the platform for a two day master class with Mirko Tobias Schäfer on possibilities and limits of civic participation.

Date March 2015 / Category News

As a post-doctoral research fellow at the Centre for Humanities at Utrecht University I will map research agenda’s that touch upon the transformation of citizenship through digital technology.

More Blog Entries


Date June 2015

Foreign Affairs has a general audience article on the pitfalls of algorithms. Referring to the analysis software Palantir, the article shows that the findings of the big data crawl can only be as good as the data that are processed behind the comprehensible user interface. Human error is merely hidden behind a rhetoric of big data analysis and computed objectivity.


Date March 2015

Literature scholar and pioneer of 'distant reading' Franco Moretti teamed up with historian of science Dominique Pestre to sift through the words of World Bank reports of the past 70 years. It reveals how the language of the World Bank changed from reporting facts, explaining actions and formulating plans to a self-referential, vague newspeak that lacks any context with empirical reality.


Date March 2015

The unprecedented access to large quantities of data also affects traditional research practices. With Internet Research Ethics, edited by Hallvard Fossheim and Helene Ingierd, the authors present critical investigations to how standards of research ethics are affected by the emerging practices and to what extent they should be adapted. Hopefully this important volume sparkes a debate and leads eventually to improved guidelines of research integrity. Free download (pdf)


Date March 2015

Again it is Evgeny Morozov who addresses the utopian rhetoric of technology companies which speaks far too well to the wet dreams of technocratic policy makers. The instrumental take on public administration threatens to take politics out of our society and will undermine the democratic organization of states.


Date March 2015

The Lapsed Historian delves into a prehistory of networked media and covers the pneumatic messaging network of London in this long article. These tubes could compete with electric telegraphy within city limits as they delivered messages quicker and at lower cost.


Date March 2015

400 of the probably 50.000 documents Edward Snowden has turned over to journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras are now archived at the Snowden Surveillance Archive. This great resource also provides a comprehensive overview of the journalists and their publications covering the individual documents.


Date February 2015

I am very interested in Foucault's investigation into the emergence of liberal thought and governance as developed in his later lectures, published as "Security, Territory, Population" and "Birth of Biopolitics". Recently Daniel Zamora has formulated a critique of Foucault's fascination for liberal governance. The Washington Post went as far as to summarize Zamora's argument as "Why Michel Foucault is the libertarian’s best friend." The Jacobin has a very interesting interview with Daniel Zamora about his take on Foucault.


Date February 2015

Salon.com has an exceprt of Ethan Zuckerman's book  "Digital Cosmpolitans: Why We Think the Internet Connects Us, Why It Doesn't and How to Rewire It"



Mirko Tobias Schaefer is a researcher in the field of digital culture.

This website provides information on his research interests and teaching activities.




Mirko Tobias Schaefer

Department for Media and Culture Studies

Utrecht University

Kromme Nieuwegr. 20
NL-3512 HH Utrecht

2000 - 2015 Mirko Tobias Schäfer

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