The Need for Digital Sociology

Digital sociology aims to understand human behavior and interactions in the digital space. As technology and digital platforms increasingly become ubiquitous, so does the need to understand how such phenomena impact individuals and societies. Social inequalities in the offline space are often mirrored in the online space, thus the purpose of digital sociology is to analyze how digital data is causing changes (either negative or positive) in social groups. Digital sociology may overlap with computer science in that both study technological processes. However, digital sociology takes into account the impact digitization has on the human experience – how is it helping or hurting us?  As we advance through the 4th industrial revolution, through the use of cyber-physical systems, technology, and human experience are becoming progressively interwoven. The emergence of Digital Sociology is a result of this progression to combat social problems that arise in the online space.

3 thoughts on “The Need for Digital Sociology

  1. It makes me wonder if social inequalities in the digital space now that you bring it up are more or less profound than in the physical space? Also does digitization bring out individuals true and honest self more than the physical societal world? It’s low key crazy how much analysis regarding human behaviors and interactions can be extracted from the digital space because when you think of the digital world it has that characteristically robotic feeling which is the opposite of human feelings, interactions and relationships but somehow through social media applications, forums, chatrooms we have been able to embed humanity within the digitized world.

    • I think inequalities generate in any space are impactful. I think we need to start thinking about the digital space as its own institution that organizes our lives–just like Gender, Race, Family, Education, etc. If you agree with that, then harm generated by any hierarchy or inequality therein would not only impact you in that institutional space, but across others as well. Thoughts?

  2. These are great points. I want to contribute to that conversation. Sana, your succinct summation of what digital sociology is excellent. I am curious whether you agree with what the authors of the texts are arguing. Part of any subdiscipline that is newly emerging is how it defines itself and its “origin story”. What do you think that they could be leaving out? What do you agree with?

    To answer Samantha’s question, I think inequalities generate in any space are impactful. I think we need to start thinking about the digital space as its own institution that organizes our lives–just like Gender, Race, Family, Education, etc. If you agree with that, then harm generated by any hierarchy or inequality therein would not only impact you in that institutional space, but across others as well. Thoughts?

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