The research group for studies in democracy, power and citizenship (DEM)

Meeting and community in the post-digital era: Understanding the texture of organizing and how it is changing

The purpose is to develop a deeper understanding of how meetings are changing as we enter a post-digital era, and the consequences of such changes for the role of meetings in community-building

Project manager at MDU

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Some phenomena are so common that we don’t notice them. We take them for granted – until they change. The meeting is such a phenomenon. In this project we study how meetings change in a world that increasingly is influenced by digital technology. Changed meeting-practices have consequences, for the workplace as well as for society as a whole, since meetings are central for the performing of democracy. In meetings, people with different backgrounds gather to engage in dialogue, negotiate, agree and set courses of action. Meetings are thus a fundamental feature of organizing. Social sciences need to contribute to explaining how meeting-practices change. Otherwise there is a risk that the development is driven by technological-optimism, and that important dimensions of established meeting-practices get lost, something that in the long-run even could pose threat to democracy. In this project we adopt an ethnographical approach by following individuals participating in various meetings in various capacities. The project fills a knowledge-gap regarding the meeting as a process; enabling a cross-disciplinary discussion about the consequences of changing meeting-practices. This contributes to a more general discussion about which dimensions of meeting-practices are central to community-building – and ultimately to the development of democracy.