The changes being brought about by digitalization processes are particularly visible in the public sector. A successful digital future, such as the one envisaged in various Danish digitalization strategies, requires a thorough engagement with the motivations, priorities, histories, practices and discourses that drive digitalization processes. It also requires a set of methodological tools and theoretical concepts suited to take into account the technologies at the centre of public digitalization, such as machine-learning algorithms, data centres, biometrics, satellite-based control mechanisms, social media platforms, digital patient journals and user portals.
This specialization provides you with a grounding in the history, theory, policy, expectations, challenges, practicalities and methods of digitalization initiatives. The two parts of the specialisation are united in their shared concern with ethnographic studies and both draw on theoretical frameworks from anthropology, Science and Technology Studies and organizational studies. In the first part, The Digital State, you develop an historically informed foundation for thinking about technologies and state projects over time, and a global perspective on public digitalization initiatives. The second part of the specialization, Digitalization and Public Sector Transformations, revolves around practical research projects in the local government setting and the different kinds of processes currently underway.
By following the specialisation, you will gain critical skills in analysing, conceptualising and contextualising the changes around us. You will develop competences in the methods and techniques through which to study public digitalization yourself. Together, the two parts of the specialization provide a grounded and comparative understanding of the digitizing state in Scandinavia, and prepare you to work at the forefront of public sector transformations.
You will carry out ethnographic research projects in groups in a local governmental setting, where you will study an ongoing IT project. As digital technologies transform internal work and management practices, they also transform the relation between welfare professionals and citizens. Understanding these processes of transformation and what they entail is crucial for working with digitalization, both in the public sector or a consultant in the private sector.
Through your ethnographic research project, you will gain insight into the implementation and the organizational and societal changes caused by digitalization. Your project will enable you to link your empirical work to core theoretical concepts in the specialisation, and can be used as preparation for your thesis. This specialisation is offered in collaboration with ITU's MSc in Digital Innovation Management.