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 October 2015

This excellent article by Adrienne LaFrance follows our digitally originating cultural production and convincingly shows how ephemeral online content is. Despite the tremendous efforts of archival institutions such as the Internet Archive, content might vanish any time a server is taken from the net, any time a platform provider goes bankrupt or decides to discontinue a service.


Date October 2015

Christie Aschwanden has a dead-on articel at FiveThirtyEight where she discusses the latest headlines reporting on faulty scientific practice. Using an interactive tool, Aschwanden lets the readers learn how tweaking data into the desired correlations. Rather than following the popular outcry about an alleged systemic problem in science, the article emphasizes the difficulties of establishing facts.


Date September 2015

Michael Massing has published two excellent articles on digital journalism in the New York Review of Books. In Digital journalism: How good is it? he looks back at how the pioneering online outlets, the Huffington Post, the Drudge Report and others have disrupted the practice of selling news. In the second article Digital journalism: The next generation, he discusses the emergence of new players, such as BuzzFeed, The Intercept, and a number of special interest feeds. Both articles provide a very informed and critical discussion of the practice and impact of digital journalism. The articles center on US media economy and public debate. A similar article on the situation in Europe or the Arab world would be great.

Date August 2015

Frank Pasquale, author of the fantastic book The Black Box Society, discusses in this article how data collection and algorithmic analysis can enforce discrimination and inequality. His case examples show that regulation is desperately to prevent unfair and non-transparent algorithmic decisions. Pasquale calls for the implementation of accountability into algorithmic decision making.


Date August 2015

In the aftermath of the financial crisis, Iceland recognized as no other country the need for a fourth estate in order to hold corrupt elites from politics and finance accountable. When court orders tried to prevent insight into the criminal activities of the Icland banksters and their friends, the need for establishing better legal frameworks for investigative journalism became clear. Iceland now strives to develop the most solid legal protection for journalism.


Date August 2015

Die Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung widmet sich kritisch dem Hype der künstlerischen Forschung. Hinter dem dem Label artistic research verbarg sich die Akademisierung der Kunstuniversitäten, die neue Studieninhalte, neue Berufsbilder und vor allem neue finanzielle Ressourcen etablieren sollte.


Date August 2015

A group of distinguished AI and computer scientists expresses concern for the emerging race to build autonomous weapons. They fear for the devastating effects of sophisticated technology which autonomously makes kill decisions; we already see the lack of accountability as well as the terrible effects of conventional warfare. Autonomous weapons will -as most military inventions- reduce the hazardous effects of combat for soldiers while increasing the impact on the civil population. And as with the nuclear arms race during the cold war, another arms race will tie up resources that are very much needed elsewhere; it also will constitute serious challenges in controlling this technology. Quite in contrast to nuclear arms, autonomous weapons will be much cheaper and far easier to acquire.


Date July 2015

Here is great interview with Giorgio Agamben on his notion of the Latin empire that should confront the technocratic Germanic domination of Europe. His plea for a political and cultural union is much needed especially in times where technocrats threaten to destroy the cultural and political values of the European Union. Mr. Agamben points out how 'crisis' is structurally used by the political elite to justify the ongoing deterioration of social welfare and civic rights. Like the mythical 'war on terror' crisis serves as an instrument for coercion.



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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