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Digital Media and Society Research Group

This research group explores the uses of digital media within a range of social, political and cultural contexts.

This research group explores the uses of digital media within a range of social, political and cultural contexts, and the resulting implications and transformations in media, communications and society. Based at the School of Journalism, Media and Culture, the group extends beyond disciplinary and departmental boundaries and incorporates a wider range of social sciences and humanities.

We are interested in themes such as:

  • digital democracy and participation
  • digital journalism and online citizen media
  • online activism, hacktivism and digital protest
  • big data and algorithmic decision-making
  • digital culture and the creative economy
  • internet governance
  • surveillance and freedom of expression online
  • online communities, diaspora and migration
  • the political economy of digital media.

Group members interface with a wide range of partners, including other universities, the media, creative and cultural industries, and policy makers. Group members are also involved in a variety of public engagement activities and contribute to policy. The group interacts with, and supports, our Masters programmes in the field of digital media.


We bring together a diverse set of scholars and students to critically examine the opportunities, challenges and implications of digital communications technology. It serves as a space for discussing interdisciplinary approaches, methods and research questions around digital media, and to advance a growing field of expertise and activity at Cardiff University.


Members of the group have been involved in a diverse set of research projects on digital culture, internet policy, the creative economy, social media and citizen journalism, among others. Funding bodies include the ESRC, the AHRC, NESTA, the Open Society Foundations, and others.


  • Digital Citizenship and Surveillance Society: UK State-Media-Citizen Relations After the Snowden Leaks(Economic and Social Research Council, 2014-16)
  • Research and enterprise in Arts and Creative Technologies (Arts and Humanities Research Council, 2012-16)
  • Managing ‘Threats’: Uses of Social Media for Policing Domestic Extremism and Disorder in the UK (Media Democracy Fund, Open Society Foundations and Ford Foundation, 2015)
  • Media, community and the creative citizen (Arts and Humanities Research Council, 2012-14)
  • Digital platforms: learning, change and national brand (KESS, 2011-2014)


  • Surveillance and Citizenship (18/19 June 2015)
  • Coding for Social Change (30 January 2015)

The Data Justice Lab


Dr Lina Dencik, Dr Arne Hintz, Dr Joanna Redden


The collection and processing of massive amounts of data is becoming an increasingly contentious issue. Our financial transactions, communications, movements, relationships, and interactions with government all increasingly generate data that are used to profile and sort groups and individuals. With the ‘platformisation’ of digital media alongside governmental and corporate uses of citizen data, developments in the Internet of Things, smart homes and smart cities, the systematic collection and analysis of massive data sets across our social life is being normalised and entrenched – what has been described as the ‘datafication’ of society. These processes can affect both individuals as well as entire communities that may be denied services and access to opportunities, or wrongfully targeted and exploited. In short, they impact on our ability to participate in society.

With the emergence of this data paradigm comes a new set of power dynamics requiring investigation and critique. Whilst promises of value-neutral information and possibilities for prediction are said to advance better responses to a range of social problems, they may also have serious implications for social inclusion, autonomy, basic freedoms, and established notions of ethics, trust, responsibility and accountability.

The term ‘data justice’ is intended to advance a research agenda that examines the intricate relationship between datafication and social justice by foregrounding and highlighting the politics and impacts of data-driven processes and big data. The lab brings together our interests in digital media, social justice, and data power and builds on our existing research and activity in these areas.


In the Data Justice Lab we carry out research that engages with data analytics from a social justice perspective. This includes research that examines the implications of institutional and organizational uses of data as well as research that provides critical responses to potential data harms and misuses. Areas of research may include (but are not limited to):

  • Data discrimination
  • Data colonialism
  • Digital labour
  • Prediction and Preemption
  • Data ethics
  • Algorithmic governance
  • Social justice-informed design
  • Uses of data by social justice groups
  • Data-related activism and advocacy

Related projects

Digital Citizenship and Surveillance Society: UK State-Media-Citizen Relations after the Snowden Leaks (Cardiff University)

Managing Threats: Uses of Social Media for Policing Domestic Extremism and Disorder in the UK (Cardiff University)

Social Media and Big Data (Infoscape Research Lab)

Related publications

Dencik, L. & Leistert, O. (eds.) (2015), Critical Perspectives on Social Media and Protest: Between Control and Emancipation. London: Rowman & Littlefield International

Dencik, L. & Wilkin, P. (2015), Worker Resistance and Media: Challenging Global Corporate Power in the 21st Century. New York: Peter Lang

Brevini, B., Hintz. A., and McCurdy, P. (eds.) (2013) Beyond WikiLeaks: Implications for the Future of Communications, Journalism and Society. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Langlois, G., Redden, J. and Elmer, G. (eds.) (2015) Compromised Data:

From Social Media to Big Data, New York: Bloomsbury.

Redden, J. (2014) The Mediation of Poverty: The News, New Media, and Politics, Lanham Md: Lexington Books.

Related events

Surveillance and Security in the Age of Algorithmic Communication, 26 July 2016, IAMCR pre-conference, Leicester, UK
Big Data – Critiques and Alternatives, 9 June 2016, ICA pre-conference, Fukuoka, Japan
Surveillance and Citizenship, 18-19 June 2015, Cardiff University
Coding for Social Change, 30 January 2015, Cardiff University

For any inquiries please contact Dr Lina Dencik (
Follow us on Twitter: @DataJusticeLab

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