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Moving from networked to patchworked society: motivational underpinnings and societal consequences. (DigiPatch)

The rise of digitalization, specifically digital media use, provides people with expanded possibilities in terms of informing and expressing themselves, as well as sharing their opinions and communicating with each other, and thus enables them to develop new and multiple social ties. While it may strengthen democratic processes, it also has a dark side. To begin with, digital media has weakened traditional media and thus hollowed out the"common space" that it used to provide, where people from different parts of society and with different backgrounds could be exposed to and learn about each other, as well as obtain verified news reports about politics and society. Equally important, on digital media, misinformation and intentionally false and/or misleading information abound and are often used strategically in a targeted manner to cause maximum impact. Digital media usage has also made it easier than ever for people to find information that confirms their already firmly held beliefs and strengthen their current identities rather than inform them. These processes may drive the irruption of various kinds of (micro)identities, i.e., closed (micro)groups with strong identities, strong in-group ties, their own epistemic realities, and full endorsement of their ideology and activities. Additionally, the strengthening of commitments in self-governed groups may manifest itself in in-group self-determination, based on narrow micro-identities, at the expense of society at large, which hampers efforts to deal effectively with the societal challenges Europe is facing, and undermines democracy. Despite much research on how digitalization shapes society, in domains such as security and marketing, much less is known about the impact of digital media use in the social sphere. In addition, the role of the socio-cognitive and cultural underpinnings of digitalization-related phenomena is rarely considered. Hence, the role of digital media use in social and cultural transformation is far from being fully described or adequately understood. («DIGIPATCH» project, PCI2022-135090-2, is funded by MCIN/AEI/10.13039/501100011033 and by European Union "NextGenerationEU"/PRTR")

Universidad de Córdoba

The main aim of the project is threefold. It will:

• investigate how digital media creates conditions for cultural and societal change from a traditionally networked society to a rigidly ‘patchwork' one.
• find out why this occurs, with a focus on cultural factors, and the socio-cognitive processes of individuals.
• outline what the potential societal consequences of these processes are.

UCO leads Work Package 5 (WP5) entitled <<Computer modelling of the formation of closed micro-identities and its attendant processes>>. (led by the Spanish partner). WP5 will be developed to model the formation of closed (micro)identities via digital media use. For this purpose, different methodologies for extracting and aggregating information from survey data will be used, including SEM modelling, pattern mining techniques, cluster analysis, and network analysis.


Code PAIDI: HUM-414

Manuel Moyano Pacheco. Partner. 

Universidad de Córdoba

Budget of Andalusian group: € 163,590.00

Duration: 36 months. November, 1th 2022 to October, 31th 2025
Project cost: € 1,71,113.00