Fragile Trust? Perspectives and Challenges in a Digitized World
The DFG Research Training Group "Trust and Communication in a Digitized World" has organized a Late Autumn School on current topics, findings and projects of trust research for the sixth time, this year under the title “Fragile Trust? Perspectives and Challenges in a Digitized World”. From November 21 to November 23 we welcomed three renowned researchers, each with a different disciplinary background. Throughout the Late Autumn School they not only gave exciting insights into their research with their three public keynotes, but also valuable feedback to our colleagues. Many thanks to Prof. Dr. Martin W. Bauer (London School of Economics and Political Science), Prof. Dr. Mike S. Schäfer (University of Zurich) and Dr. Lisa van der Werff (Dublin City University)!
The school was organized by our PhD students Natascha Löffler, Eva Strehlke, Bernadette Uth, Nina Vaupotic and Dominik Sondern. This year our organizing team offered some different and highly innovative formats, for which participants could apply and register. In addition to the public lectures the interdisciplinary Late Autumn School gives PhD students from the Research Training Group and external PhD students from the fields communication sciences, psychology, sports sciences, information systems and economics the opportunity to present and discuss their research.
First, there were ‘traditional’ panels, each consisting of four PhD presentations of ten to fifteen minutes and followed by a lively discussion. Secondly, the PhD students also had the opportunity to participate in a poster session. This session started with a short introduction of each poster before the Late Autumn School’s participants could discuss the posters with the presenters. Third, there was an in-depth feedback session for which the participants handed in extended abstracts and full papers in advance. Our keynote speakers gave feedback on every paper and abstract before all participants of the in-depth-session entered into a lively discussion. Fourth, we also had some highly interesting group discussions. Prof. Dr. Bernd Blöbaum, the training groups’s speaker, our alumni and current postdoc Dr. Bettina Distel and our alumni Dr. Katie Engelke, Dr. Friederike Hendricks and Dr. Daniel Westmattelmann each discussed current (research) topics with the Late Autumn School’s participants. For example, Dr. Distel discussed the following assumption: “The increasing proliferation of sophisticated technologies such as blockchains renders interpersonal and technological trust obsolete.“ Fifth, the PhD students could also register for individual one-to-one discussions with the keynote speakers and discuss current research questions in a rather informal setting.
Trust, as well as the loss of trust, have become a topic of great interest both in society and in many fields of research. Current developments such as the spread of fake news, scepticism towards science and scientists, the use of innovative technologies in journalism and the shifting of teams into the digital work environment illustrate the importance as well as fragility of trust across different areas. An especially important aspect is the continuous process of digitalization of our society, which has an indisputable effect on people’s daily lives. Namely, digitalization implies a reliance on and integration of digital technologies in more and more areas of life. This raises questions on how to analyse and enhance trust in different spheres of society to ensure functioning of social processes and interactions. In order to scrutinize the role of trust in the digital age, we aim to discuss its operationalization in technology-enhanced environments, reflection of trust in public opinion and communication between experts and laypeople as well as emergence and development of trust over time. Further, we consider the role of trust on an interpersonal level, within organizations, in societal institutions and in society as a whole.