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In/Equalities in Digitalized Society - Symposium on digitalization and welfare services

  • Guest lecture
  • Symposium
  • Human learning
  • Education and learning environments
  • Technology and innovations
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Zoom Event
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Zoom link via registration
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Mirjami Ikonen


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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 results from the expanding and intensifying use of data-driven technologies and automation in welfare states and especially in 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 digitalization of welfare state in 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 Nordic Welfare State is discussed in the symposium.

Symposium is arranged by Learning in Digitalized Society (DigS) -research community and Data Literacy for Responsible Decision-Making.

Registration for the symposium by 13 January, 2022: Registration form.


12.00 – 13.30 Opening remarks, Senior Lecturer Marja Alastalo, UEF

Keynote lecture: Data and Story: Global Narratives of the Digital Welfare State. Associate Professor Virginia Eubanks, New York State University (Chair: Marja Alastalo)

13.30–14.00 Break

14.00–14.05 Opening remarks, Session chair Senior Lecturer Helena Hirvonen, UEF

14.05–14.45 Emotions and emotional labour in the collaborative practices of repurposing healthcare data and building of data technologies, Senior Researcher Marta Choroszewicz, UEF

14.45–15.25 Top-down and bottom-up AI imaginaries in social care, Postdoctoral researcher Tuukka Lehtiniemi, University of Helsinki

15.25–15.45 20 min break

15.45–16.25 Young people's different digital agencies: Experiences from distant schooling, Senior Lecturer Päivi Armila, UEF

16.25–17.05 Population register as a digital state border device in Finland, Senior Lecturer Marja Alastalo, UEF

17.05 Closing remarks