Students Cohorts

Silvia Semenzin

201802010209st semenzin 

Topic of thesis: Politics of datafication: the case of Blockchain
Abstract: This PhD research project aims to investigate the extent to which the arrival of a new technology, named Blockchain, could represent a means to repurpose power relations in the 'datafied' society. The process of datafication of society (Van Dijck, 2014) has arisen several concerns around mass surveillance and algorithmic discrimination, calling for broader reflections on how to achieve 'data justice' (Dencik, 2017).
Blockchain has been advocated by many as a technical solution to problems related to data ownership and privacy, and it is therefore starting to be applied to several dimensions of sociality, e.g. governance, art, public transport, etc. The decentralized essence of Blockchain and its use of encryption represent among some 'crypto-enthusiasts' a technological revolution and the final solution to the centralization of power (Tapscott and Tapscott, 2016). However, some scholars have also pointed to the anarcho-libertarian essence of Blockchain (Golumbia, 2016; Gerard, 2017), which in its most extreme form believes that governments should exist only to ensure dominant private power over economy and citizens. In this sense, Blockchain might represent the latest innovation advocated to restructure power relation that might end up re-centralizing dynamics of power in digitally-mediated contexts.
This research aims to look at the societal applications of Blockchain and to the motivations that underlie its development, trying to understand if and to what extent Blockchain could reshape digital power relations, who are the actors that might ultimately benefit from the arrival of this new technology and which are the political and economic interpretations that drive its implementation.
Research Interests: Cyberpolitics, datafication, data justice, hacktivism, social movements
Graduated from: Universidad Complutense de Madrid; Università degli Studi di Padova

Degrees obtained:  MA Social Communication; BA Political Science, International Relations and Human Rights
E-mail address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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