Connected World

More and more global networks define our economy, culture and community. The way we work changes, as does how we communicate. We voice our social worries differently and interact differently with our past, language, relations and religion. Around the world people have become closer due to globalisation and digitisation: we are a Connected World.

VU Amsterdam 2018/2019 year theme: Connected World
Within the VU Amsterdam year theme we will look at the intersection of digital connections between people and more traditional connections.

  • What (other) opportunities do digital connections have to offer?
  • What can the humanities, social sciences, religion studies, law, economics and information sciences learn from each other?
  • Do big social issues, such as fake news, migration, hospitality, heritage, identity and ‘mixed classroom’, benefit from solutions from the wide research field Connected World?
Research into the Connected World by definition transcends disciplines. Within VU Amsterdam two interdisciplinary research institutions are focussed on research into the Connected World: CLUE+ and the Network Institute.

Historical, technical, theoretical and social: CLUE+
We are not the first to discuss increased connectivity, so did ancient philosophers. And from the 15th century onwards global trade networks grew substantially. In modern times multinationals have offices around the world. Recent and historical periods of globalisation offer plenty of opportunities but they go hand in hand with problems and conflicts. Where there is growing connectivity, exclusion is close at hand. If national borders disappear in a bigger Europe or global network, the issue of alienation or loss of identity pops up.

CLUE+ emphasises  the historical dimensions of globalisation and networks, and researches the Connected World as a philosophical, technical, theoretical and social question. The institution brings together scientists from various fields to research these themes.

Robots, fake news and virtual reality: Network Institute
The Network Institute is aimed directly at the digital community. Digital technology, from robots and mobile equipment tot online platforms, language technology, virtual reality and autonomous weapon systems, develops rapidly and takes society with it. At the same time new social challenges present themselves, such as the digital divide, polarisation, privacy and the spreading of disinformation, wherein technical developments are often both the cause and part of the solution.

Digital technology and social processes are thus increasingly entangled with each other. These developments cannot properly be studied through a single lens. That is why the Network Institute facilitates theoretical and demand driven research with interdisciplinary research teams.

And: lawyers and economists
Researchers from the fields of law and economy are also involved with the Connected World. For instance, transport economists study the social problems which result from special interactions and accessibility within urban areas. The context of global trade and migration of individuals and companies is also touched upon.

Connected World is a central theme throughout VU Amsterdam events in 2018/2019, such as: