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


Featured Blog Entries

Date March 2018 / Category News

As the campaign for the referendum on the so-called dragnet (sleepwet), the law for the intelligence and security services, is in full swing, it might be worth to have a look at the infographic used by the government to communicate the need for the amended law.

Date October 2017 / Category News

For AoIR 2017, Helen Kennedy put together a panel discussing the future directions of critical data studies. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in the debate. Round-table participants for the future directions of Critical Data Studies included Lina Dencik (Data Justice Lab), Tarleton Gillespie (Microsoft Research), and Stefania Milan (Data-Active). As Jonathan Gray (Public Data Lab) could not attend, I presented on behalf of Utrecht Data School and the Datafied Society Research platform.

More Blog Entries


Date September 2018

This informative report by Theo Bass, Emma Sutherland and Tom Symons  addresses the shortcomings of so-called Smart City projects in safeguarding citizens' data or including residents in the efforts and objectives of developing technology and data infrastructures. Highlighting a number of cities and their distinctive dat practices, the report shows alternatives to corporate technological solutionism and top-down technology implementation.


Date August 2018

The NYT has an interesting article on a recent study (carried out by University of Warwick researchers Karsten Müller and Carlo Schwarz). Reviewing the 3335 antirefugee attacks which took place over the past two years, they found that cities displaying a high use and diffusion of Facebook significantly experienced more attacks.


Date August 2018

Paul Blumenthal and Gopal Sathe at Huffington Post describe how U.S. technology companies help India installing a comprehensive biometric database (the so-called Aadhaar program) which constitutes the possibility for vast state surveillance. It also makes surveillance a persuasive business case for Western technology companies.


Date June 2018

Together with my colleagues Karin van Es and Maranke Wieringa, I have penned a brief but programmatic post on 'tool criticism'. As researchers employ increasingly digital methods, software applications for data analysis and data visualization, the more we must inquire how these affect the process of knwoledge production and results. How can scholars avoid a mere instrumental use of their tools, but develop an informed and critical approach to them.


Date May 2018

My colleagues Karin van Es and Maranke Wieringa and I have written a programmatic post on the need to consider the epistemological impact of knowledge technologies on research processes and results.


Date March 2018

In the wake of Brexit, the election of Donald Trump and the rise of nationalist populism in Europe, policy makers are concerned about the way social media affect public opinion. This led to ill-advised results such as the EU proposal for banning so-called illegal content or the controversial Network Enforcement Act in Germany. Now, an EU High Level Expert Group [sic!] under stewardship of Utrecht University law professor Madeleine de Cock Buning has issued a report on Fake News and Disinformation Online. They clearly speak out against the popular shift towards censorship and advocate strongly for a multidimensional approach that involves the different stakeholders, educators, journalists and policy makers to develop both short term and long term responses.


Date January 2018

The date for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) taking effect is coming closer; this informative and accessible article by Cennydd Bowles captures the general rules of the forthcoming law and how it affects developers and designers.


Date January 2018

The MoneyLab at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences has published another reader. MoneyLab Reader 2 with the programmatic title Overcoming the Hype consists of intriguing article that provide critical perspectives to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Free copies and downloads are available.



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 - 2018 Mirko Tobias Schäfer

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