EMUI_  EuroMed University
INTERUNIVERSITY PLATFORM FOR RESEARCH AND TEACHING
  
  
    
  







EuroMed Social Observatory

Department of Technology Foresight


Research Project | Master Degree | LLP
Social Technology and Digital Citizenship

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General considerations:

This department, created in 2008, aims to analyze the initiatives to develop the concept of digital citizenship for the construction of a common Euro-Mediterranean space. This concept becomes a key element in bringing together a community in which the digital divide coextenses with other historical cultural, racial, economic and territorial gaps that undermine the attempts to carry out a profound modernization of the concept of Europe and of Cultural and political harmonization between the margins of the Mediterranean. This Euro-Mediterranean citizenship is based on the social appropriation of technology, the impact of technology on democracy, the fourth generation of human rights, digital inclusion policies and the development of e-government.

Like any university institution, the Euro-Mediterranean University Institute EMUI has, to the extent of its possibilities, a Department of Social Technology. In this sense it is committed to research in social innovation, rather than in developments of specific technologies dedicated to industry. It is a department that focuses on the evaluation of social technology policies and the formulation of recommendations for lines of action, rather than producing applications or patents. It is, therefore, an affordable department that does not require particularly complex or expensive facilities, and which allows the teamwork of members of this "invisible college" that are in their base institutions. This is why it is strongly committed to information and communication technologies, as it allows us a groupware environment of high performance and low cost. Also think of a not too large group of people where two elements are combined:
A nucleus (more or less permanent) has been created and is progressively updated with the influx of experts from the Mediterranean area, although there are also other Community and / or non-EU countries. Universities and research institutions belonging to the EMUI (Academic Council) Consortium are the main source of researchers.

This is, therefore, a department or permanent observatory of social foresight that is responsible for analyzing trends and suggesting recommendations in the areas of social appropriation of technology, electronic democracy, regional development of human rights, digital inclusion policies, software and Free knowledge and e-government development. It is equipped with a laboratory with good computer equipment and Internet connection2 through RedIris, prepared to analyze specific software and web applications aimed at social innovation. The production of publications, reports, evaluations and consultancy is one of the priority operating practices of this department.

Of the structure, contents and operation of the R & D department

By social innovation is meant the development of computer tools that serve to reinforce the Web 2.0 or social web. The intensive use of information and communication technologies is basic and will be even more so in the near future for the creation of social networks in the Euro-Mediterranean regional area. These networks can have a transnational scope, they can serve to have a knowledge of movements and tendencies within certain areas. This is why its background is geared to sociological, organizational and political explorations rather than technological production applied to industry. 

Given the specificity of studies developed by the EMUI all this research is focused, as noted above, in the Mediterranean area. For this we have designed the following sections / activities that we are covering:

1) A Media Lab research on social networks and production of free knowledge with specific use in the area of study of the EMUI. Offer the possibility of coordinating projects in common with the countries of the regional scope involved in the Institute. This has allowed us to create our own network that serves to monitor projects in this area as a source of knowledge of the evolution of the various Euro-Mediterranean societies.

2) A specific area of study on the digital divide, capable of generating evolutionary indicators and comparisons with other countries and areas of the world. Given the heterogeneity of the study area, it is especially important to understand how technologies are being implemented, their acceptance, difficulties, use, etc.

3) An area of study dedicated to the digital diaspora. The meaning of "digital diaspora" implies the use of new technologies such as mobiles, computers and various communication systems as elements of social cohesion among members of migrant communities, both among its members and between them and the local communities of their countries of origin . Given that this area is one of the most active in immigration today, it is especially important to try to understand the structure of these movements in order to make descriptive reports, assessments, recommendations, etc.

4) An observatory on free software and knowledge centered in the Mediterranean area. This observatory carries out foresight work on the use of technologies, reports on the development and implementation of these technologies, as well as recommendations and advice, especially in the public sector, in their integration into public administrations and in the implementation of government policies electronic.

5) An advisory department on digital citizenship as a means of combating the digital divide, increasing the cohesion of the different communities living in the area and providing technology of its own to the countries most in need. This is a section especially relevant for regional security and for the national security of the members of this Community.

As you can see, the themes are shared in the different areas of work. The underlying intention is that there be feedback between the various teams and that, in this way, multidisciplinarity is guaranteed. It is about that sociologists, political scientists, anthropologists and philosophers work in a coordinated way with technologists and software analysts.

OBSERVATIONS


Given that the creation of methodologies for the evaluation of social technologies and the raising of high-level advice and consultancy proposals has become a basic requirement of an elite higher education institution such as ours, we are careful to implement a New department. There are several issues that need to be addressed with attention, including:

1) Scale: we look for a scale appropriate to means and ends. That is why we are doing a progressive and modular development of the department.

2) Use of resources: it is important to identify the possible sources of knowledge, already recognizable within the EMUI itself, the institutions that support it at the political-administrative and academic-researcher level.

3) Foreign advice. It is very important to have the advice of experienced institutions, which have already developed extensive work in the European research area. Therefore the use of resources is not only a fund-raising but also the management experience or know-how in R & D. For this purpose, it is suggested to set up an Advisory Council for the creation of this Department.

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