Universität Wien FIND

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210123 SE M5: EU and Europeanisation (2021S)

Digital power Europe

9.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 21 - Politikwissenschaft
Continuous assessment of course work

Die Lehre wird im SoSe 2021 zu Beginn voraussichtlich digital stattfinden. Je nach Lage wird auf hybride oder Vor-Ort-Lehre umgestellt. Die Lehrenden werden die konkrete Organisationsform und Lehrmethodik auf ufind und Moodle bekannt geben, wobei auch mit kurzfristigen Änderungen gerechnet werden muss.

Eine Anmeldung über u:space innerhalb der Anmeldephase ist erforderlich! Eine nachträgliche Anmeldung ist NICHT möglich.
Studierende, die der ersten Einheit unentschuldigt fern bleiben, verlieren ihren Platz in der Lehrveranstaltung.

Achten Sie auf die Einhaltung der Standards guter wissenschaftlicher Praxis und die korrekte Anwendung der Techniken wissenschaftlichen Arbeitens und Schreibens.
Plagiierte und erschlichene Teilleistungen führen zur Nichtbewertung der Lehrveranstaltung (Eintragung eines 'X' im Sammelzeugnis).
Die Lehrveranstaltungsleitung kann Studierende zu einem notenrelevanten Gespräch über erbrachte Teilleistungen einladen.


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 50 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Thursday 11.03. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 41 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 8
Thursday 18.03. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 41 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 8
Thursday 25.03. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 41 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 8
Thursday 15.04. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 41 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 8
Thursday 22.04. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 41 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 8
Thursday 29.04. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 41 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 8
Thursday 06.05. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 41 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 8
Thursday 20.05. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 41 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 8
Thursday 27.05. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 41 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 8
Thursday 10.06. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 41 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 8
Thursday 17.06. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 41 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 8
Thursday 24.06. 09:45 - 11:15 Hörsaal 41 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 8


Aims, contents and method of the course

In a rapidly digitalizing world, Europe has yet to find its place. Some observers, including many European officials, lament that Europe has failed to keep pace with the United States and China - the two digital superpowers. They point to the fact Europe has yet to produce its own digital champion (Spotify is neither an Amazon nor an Alibaba), and raise the specter of European irrelevance in a world where political and economic influence increasingly rest upon technological progress. Meanwhile, other observers, again including many European officials, paint a rosier picture. They point to the fact that the EU has become the de-jure and de-facto regulator of large swaths of the internet, and has established itself as the global vanguard of digital human rights (the GDPR being the most famous example in both cases). But what is the role that Europe can, does, and should play in this brave new world of digital platforms, big data and artificial intelligence? In this seminar, we probe this question more systematically, assessing the position of the EU has and the limits of this power, asking ourselves why Europe lags behind in some areas and why it leads in others, and evaluating the possibility and desirability of a third model of digitalization - parallel to or in competition with the United States’s market-driven laissez faire approach as well as China’s state-led autocratic model.

Learning outcomes:

The course aims to introduce students to central debates in the emerging literature on digitalization, and focuses particularly on the role of the EU It provides students with the conceptual tools and analytic skills to embark on theoretical or empirical projects of their own. At the end of the course, students should be able to
• identify and describe the main challenges that digitalization poses to advanced capitalist countries in general and to the European Union in particular;
• summarize and critically assess the strengths and weakness of theoretical approaches that try make sense of Europe’s differential success in the areas of technological/economic and regulatory/normative leadership;
• apply the insights they gained from these approaches to their own projects.

Assessment and permitted materials

You need to submit all the required assignments to pass the course. Your final grade will be the weighted average of these assignments. What is important to us when it comes to grading are two things. First, stick to the task at hand. If your response paper is meant to end with a question, end with a question. If your presentation is meant to be 5 minutes, make it no more than 6. If your term paper is meant to discuss one question in around 4000 words, don’t try to answer half a dozen in 8000 words. It’s almost a dad thing to say, but these skills are important not just at a university, but in any kind of job. Second, put a bit of effort into it, or at least make it look that way. Have some decent formatting. But also try to be clear and crisp, which is often harder than writing long and convoluted sentences. Try to prepare a presentation that you yourself would like to listen to: short, clear points that highlight anything you found confusing or unclear. You don’t need to understand everything, have read a ton of additional literature, or write in a fancy way to get a very good grade. Just stick to the task and try to make sense.

You are required to attend each session, and we encourage you to prepare for and actively participate in them. However, if you really can’t make it, just reach out to us, these things happen once or twice a term.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Students are required to attend classes and come prepared (i.e., having finished and thought about the readings). In addition, there will be three types of assignments that together make up the final grade.
• First, for three sessions of their choosing, students need to write short response papers (half a page) that reflect on the readings and end with a question for the class (25%). And remember, questions end with a question mark.
• Second, they are required to deliver a very short input presentation (around 5-10 minutes) for one session as well as prepare discussion points for the class (e.g., questions, empirical examples) (25%). The former is meant to quickly summarize the main points of the reading(s) and the latter is meant to kick off and organize the discussion.
• Lastly, students need to write a relatively short term paper on a topic related to the course (up to 4000 words) (50%). The paper can be theoretical or empirical and is meant to hone in on one particular question that the students can pick themselves (although they should briefly discuss this with us in advance).

Examination topics

Students need no prior knowledge of academic debates on digitalization to successfully participate in the course. A general interest in the topic, basic English language skills, and a broad familiarity with the European Union are sufficient. In their submissions, students are expected to engage with the academic literature that touches upon central debates in the area of digitalization, particularly the role of the EU.

Reading list

Mayer-Schönberger, V. and Cukier, K. (2013) Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think. (An Eamon Dolan book). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Seoane, M. V. (2020) Normative market Europe?: The contested governance of cyber-surveillance technologies. In Emerging Security Technologies and EU Governance, Routledge.
Srnicek, N. (2017) Platform Capitalism. Cambridge: Polity.
van Dijck, J., Poell, T. and Waal, M. de (2018) The Platform Society: Public values in a connective world. New York: Oxford University Press.

Association in the course directory

Last modified: We 21.04.2021 11:26