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In/Equalities in Digitalized Society

  • Guest lecture
  • Human learning
  • Education and learning environments
  • Technology and innovations
Event date:
Event location:
Aurora, AU111, Joensuu Campus
Additional information:
Streamed event, Zoom link via registration
Contact information:

Mirjami Ikonen


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​Virginia Eubanks, an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University at Albany, is visiting Joensuu Campus at the University of Eastern Finland invited by the Learning In Digitalized Society Research Community (DigS).

Digital technologies have transformed societies and human life at large. Transformations touch every walk of society from healthcare and social security to education, from civil society to economy. Technologies that are explicitly designed/expected to make things better and more (cost)effective have turned out to be expensive, laborious, and even discriminatory, and to complicate people’s lives. This symposium focuses on in/equalities that are linked to or result from the expanding and intensifying use of data-driven technologies and automation in welfare states and especially in the social and healthcare sector. Welfare states are not the same globally, but digitalization and the increasing use of data-based technologies is shaping them - both the work of social and health care professionals as well as the lives of the citizens and clients in the need of social security and health care.    
The keynote lecture will be given by associate professor Virginia Eubanks from University at Albany, New York State University. The topic of her talk is Data and Story: Global Narratives of the Digital Welfare State. Virginia Eubanks has investigated the digitalization of the welfare state in the USA. Her rewarded book “Automating Inequality” documents the impacts of high-tech sorting and monitoring systems on poor and working-class people arguing that digital tracking and automated decision-making have replaced county poorhouses and scientific charity in hiding poverty from the middle-class public. Whether this tendency has been realized in the context of the Nordic Welfare State is discussed in the symposium. 

Eubanks is the author of Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor.


Opening remarks, Senior Lecturer Marja Alastalo, University of Eastern Finland

Keynote: Data and Story: Global Narratives of the Digital Welfare State  
Virginia Eubanks, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University at Albany, the State University of New York (AU111 / zoom)

11:45-13:00 Lunch break

13:00-13:05 Opening remarks Session chair Senior Lecturer Helena Hirvonen, University of Eastern Finland

13:05-13:45 Emotions and emotional labor in the collaborative practices of repurposing healthcare data and building of data technologies, Senior Researcher Marta Choroszewicz, University of Eastern Finland

13:45-14:25 Top-down and bottom-up AI imaginaries in social care, Postdoctoral researcher Tuukka Lehtiniemi, University of Helsinki

14:25-14:55 Coffee break

14:55-15:35 Young people's different digital agencies: Experiences from distant schooling, Senior Lecturer Päivi Armila, University of Eastern Finland

15:35-16:15 Population register as a digital state border device in Finland, Senior Lecturer Marja Alastalo, University of Eastern Finland

16:15 Closing remarks

Registration for the seminar participants by 7 December, 2021. Registration for the webinar by 13 January, 2022.