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3 Research Projects Funded by the Norwegian Research Council!

The Christmas gifts for the Algorithmic Governance Research Network, and the Work Research Institute at OsloMet, arrived early this year! Three of our researchers and founding members of this network, all based at the aforementioned institute, will lead three different projects which all connect to the core areas of this research network. All projects will start on the 1st of April 2021 (and that is no joke!) and last for 3 years, and all involve several researchers from within and beyond this network. Below is a brief presentation of the projects and the project leaders.

1. Algorithmic Governance and Cultures of Policing: Comparative Perspectives from Norway, India, Brazil, Russia, and South Africa (AGOPOL)

FRIPRO Researcher Project for Scientific Renewal

Project Leader: Christin Thea Wathne, Research Professor, Work Research Institute, OsloMet

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the technology of the future that will radically transform the world we live in. AI and the growing role of private security, tech and consultancy companies, are reshaping policing and how we ensure social order and security, enforce law, and prevent and investigate crime. However, this ongoing radical transformation of our world is little understood. To change that, AGOPOL brings together a team of 16 established scholars and young talented researchers from cultural and area studies, anthropology, sociology, history, literature, and law and based in 9 countries, to develop a ground-breaking comparative cultural analysis of policing as a global digitized and hybrid project. Based on ethnographic research in Norway, Russia, India, Brazil, and South Africa, we will leverage comparative cross-cultural analysis and generate a novel understanding of cultures of policing – both within and beyond the police. We will analyse the impact of algorithmic governance on society and those policed – from the unintended consequences, algorithmic injustices, and harms related to these new modes of policing, to their impact on legitimacy and societal trust. Our analysis will deal with issues such as the underlying cultural conditions shaping the use of AI technologies in policing; the transformation of institutional cultures stemming from the technological change; the transformation of knowledge cultures with the increasing dominance of datafied ‘truth’; the interaction of algorithmic governance and cultures of policing; and, perhaps most importantly, the global cultural transformation as an effect of the intertwined processes of datafication, securitization, and commodification of security.

2. Digital Prism and the Nordic Model of Workplace Democracy under Pressure (DigiWORK) VAM Researcher Project for Scientific Renewal

Project Leader: Eivind Falkum, Research Professor, Work Research Institute, OsloMet

Big data and artificial intelligence are radically transforming the ways in which we work, are hired and fired, managed and led. Datafication is impacting our ability to influence our work conditions. Yet, the consequences of datafication of work for workplace democracy, co-determination, individual autonomy and participation have so far not been fully understood. Workplace monitoring, algorithmic management systems, automated decision-making support systems, performance quantification and similar technologies represent a new form of workplace governance. Algorithmic governance, as a new mode of power, puts the Norwegian model of workplace democracy and the tripartite collaboration between employees and trade unions, employers, and authorities, under pressure. This project investigates the effects of digital transformation of work on the Norwegian model of workplace democracy. DigiWORK brings together an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Norway, Denmark and England, from across critical sociology, social anthropology, management, criminology, law, and history to investigate this fundamental transformation through a combination of qualitative case studies and quantitative surveys of co determination, workplace democracy, participation and autonomy in the Norwegian 1) law enforcement, 2) healthcare, 3) higher education, and 4) petroleum industry. We will deliver an in-depth and robust theory of the transformation of power and governance in and across these sectors as a result of datafication. Our novel comparative analysis, complemented by historical and legal perspectives, will also provide actionable insights and policy relevant recommendations for stakeholders, e.g. trade unions and policymakers.

3. Luxury, Corruption and Global Ethics: Towards a Critical Cultural Theory of the Moral Economy of Fraud (LUXCORE)

FRIPRO Young Research Talents

Project Leader: Tereza Østbø Kuldova, Research Professor, Work Research Institute, OsloMet

Why is corruption still increasing worldwide, despite universal recognition by all relevant international organizations that it needs to be fought? Kofi Annan and Pope Francis alike agree that corruption is evil – a moral problem, with global ethics as a solution. But why do the numerous measures to improve ethical standards and increase transparency and accountability have little effect? To answer these pressing questions, LUXCORE utilizes theories and qualitative methods from anthropology, critical criminology and cultural theory to develop a novel, critical theory of corruption. We start out from two basic recognitions: First, corruption is itself underpinned by a criminogenic moral culture, the ‘moral economy of fraud’. Second, corruption and luxury are inextricably linked. Entities simultanelously make use of the defiance industry (suppliers of luxury goods and services to ensure confidentiality) and the compliance industry (helping them appear as ethical). Underpinned by the moral economy of fraud, the defiance industry shapes the compliance industry that is supposed to combat it. More ethical requirements, in the form of ever more parameters and quantifiables, do not appear to be the solution. LUXCORE’s main objective is to understand why, by analysing the moral economy of fraud through concrete case studies of the (WP1) luxury sector and the defiance industry, (WP2) compliance in the luxury sector, and (WP3) political corruption, populism, and anticorruption, to generate (WP4) an original and novel theory of corruption and the moral economy of fraud. Only a radically different theoretical lens will allow us to transgress the dialectic of defiance and compliance that prevents us from actually tackling corruption.

More information about all projects will be available in April 2021! Follow us here, on Facebook or Twitter!


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