Crisis - Perspectives from the Humanities

The CyberSocial Research lab has responded to a call by CHANSE and HERA with a proposal to lead a transnational project with partners in Denmark, Portugal and Lithuania.

This project examines the relationship between technology and crises.The trajectories of technological developments and those of crises do not merely run parallel, but intersect, entangle, and collide. Our project aims to re-interrogate critical moments of techno-social transformation in Europe and to develop a new critical lens ‘technocrisis’ for understanding and responding to challenges faced by European communities undergoing crises today as a result of technological change.

By critically reexamining understandings of both technology and crisis through a deeper reflection on their mutual interdependence, the project grapples with the paradoxical characterisations of technology as both the source and solution to human problems. To escape this impasse, the project aims to bring a Humanities perspective which moves beyond a purely instrumentalist view of technological progress to one that acknowledges the complexities of how rapid changes in technological capability may be accompanied by cultural shockwaves that overwhelm the capacity of communities to cope and adapt. 

By employing a Citizen Humanities methodology that will identify local crises along with conducting comparative work in different regional communities,  we aim to enrich our understandings of how existing and emerging technologies influence the course of crisis situations through, for example, mediation of communications, management of conflict or shifts in social relations. It is the intention of the project that this collaborative exploration and set of initiatives will yield an enriching source of understanding to form the basis for greater collaboration between Humanities and STEM and enable formulation of policies that will empower communities to better navigate their futures.


Research Partners

This project will be coordinated by Dr. James Cuffe, an early career stage anthropologist and Irish Research Council Stg Laureate who brings substantial experience in leading and managing international projects and a background of ethnographic research focused on conceptions of techno-social change in everyday life. 

Professor Ana Daniel has conducted research on resilience and innovation in Portugal and has received several awards for her work on resilient communities, territorial innovation and regional development. 

Professor Eglé Butkevičienė in Lithuania provides expertise in civil society issues through themes of citizen science and citizen humanities, democratic participation and governance and has been appointed as an expert for the H2020 Committee for Societal Challenges.

Dr. Tom Børsen is co-founder of the Techno-Anthropological approach developed at Aalborg University. He has created different tools and frameworks for the investigation of human-technology interaction which form the core methodological element of this project. His work has been applied in different fields from healthcare to engineering to uncertainty management.

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,