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Cyber Cities

Cyber Cities


Understanding CyberSocial Change

Principal Investigator Dr. James Cuffe leads the IRC funded ethnographic project examining technological and digital transformations in urban life. We welcome collaboration both in Ireland and abroad from like-minded scholars and, of course, non-like-minded scholars. 

This project seeks to overcome current problems within urban digital transformation for addressing human values and technical normativity as cities globally incorporate new technologies into our homes, communities and the city fabric. While technology has the proven capacity to improve social and individual life, we must still answer the challenge of negative technological effects on the social. Our project seeks to determine patterns in cyber-social transformation so that we might mitigate future problems at the point of infusion. By cyber-social we simply mean the integration of digital technologies with social life.

The project aims are as follows: 

  • The intermediate objective is to conduct local ethnographic research leading to evidence-based outputs that will help allay social issues in a small Irish city’s digital transition towards becoming a ‘Smart City’. 
  • The project aim is to identify and verify patterns in cyber-social transformation so that principles can be articulated for any urban digital transition at both design and policy levels to mitigate negative social consequences. 
  • CyberSocial’s ultimate ambition is to rehabilitate the conceptual division in applied settings between technics and culture (Simondon 2017) by hypothesising and then verifying patterns of cyber-social change. Simondon’s work was pre-digital but has now been extended to the digital realm by Yuk Hui (2016, 2019). As Simondon argues, “if culture would not incorporate technology, it would include an obscure zone and would be unable to make its regulative normativity bear on the coupling of the human being and the world” (2017: 227). It is this schism the project seeks to reconcile through applied social science. 


CyberSocial takes an anthropological lens to examine digital transformation at the level of everyday life by observing and recording the incremental infusion of social life with cybertechnologies. This project will examine society at the threshold, ethnographically capturing the patterns of cyber-social transformation as they unfold. The findings from CyberSocial will provide the required evidence-based outputs to effect socially informed and nuanced policy for cultivating a socially and digitally just space for cyber-social living. 

CyberSocial Research Lab Saotharlann Taighde Chibear-Shóisialta

Dept. of Sociology and Criminology, Askive Ground Floor, O' Donovan's Road, University College Cork, Cork City, Ireland,