Welcome to the Otherwise Network (or short: OWNW).
We are a group of independent researchers, theorists, practitioners and authors interested in questions revolving around the digital transformation of society. We want to provide and open up room for new perspectives, discourses, and transdisciplinary exchange. Together we are working on concepts and formats, events and publications on various facets and consequences of technological change. In our Salons, for instance, we invite scholars to present and discuss their ideas, methods and theoretical stances for making sense and understanding digital life in the 21st century.
Transdisciplinarity means asking different questions
What are the social backgrounds of startup founders? What are the politics of Facebook? What are the sociotechnical prerequisites for the formation of today’s public sphere(s) – and who is/can be part of it? What are the ideas and historical foundations (Ideengeschichte) of data protection? What is the gender of artificial intelligence? What ideology is behind/built into my autonomous car?We have joined forces to analyse the ongoing dynamic interactions of political actors, social structures, legal frameworks, economic effects, as well as technological practices and artefacts in a transdisciplinary way.
We are critical Internet enthusiasts
Instead of dropping hot take after hot take, our aim is to cool down cyber hypes and to defuse techno panics. By taking into account transdisciplinary perspectives, we want to let the air out of bloated headlines and provide grounded analyses of current phenomena.
We have a differentiated view of technological developments: unagitated and critical, but at the same time curious and cautiously optimistic. Nevertheless, we think that technologies are not automatically contributing to a better life for every human being. Digitisation is, in our view, a social and political praxis. To observe and help various actors understand the implications of these complex developments is one of our primary tasks/goals/obligations.
What we do
For this reason we founded an association in October 2018, the Otherwise Network. Its aim is to promote knowledge and research on topics revolving around technology development and digitisation. We develop analyses and solutions to current issues relating to technological change, e.g. statements for the German Bundestag. Our work includes research projects, publications, moderation and organization of conferences, lectures, workshops and consulting.
In its first year, the OWNW members were invited to public events and panel discussions, gave talks and workshops in various contexts (e.g. at universities), published guest articles and interviews in different German media outlets. For more on this you can subscribe to our newsletter (in German). A highlight for us all are the OWNW Salons, the first one featuring Maya Indira Ganesh (April, Berlin), followed by Christoph Engemann as part of the Internet Governance Forum (November, Berlin).