Digital Transformation and New Social Questions in East Asia
This project aims to explore the digital transformation in East Asia, its economic and social consequences at the socio-political (macro), corporate (meso) and labor (micro) levels empirically, as well as to reveal the resulting new social questions and finally to elicit corresponding reflexive possibilities for action and solutions. Moreover, the research cooperation with the network and cooperation partners serves to consolidate the scientific exchange relationships, to promote our young scientists and to make the small subjects involved more visible and to strengthen them institutionally. This project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (MKW) within the framework of the Excellence Strategy of the German federal and state governments (until December 31, 2021).
Overall, we are concerned with the following questions: How is the digital transformation taking shape in East Asia and what social consequences are emerging? Which articulations of interests and which awareness of the problem does the digital transformation trigger? What coping strategies are being discussed and what reflexive options are emerging at the corresponding levels of action? The investigation of this situation in the individual countries, but also in an intra-East Asian comparison, will ultimately also serve as regional scientific input for the global issues.
Methodologically, the research program follows Comparative Institutional Analysis (Aoki 2001), which forms the common basis of all the research team's work. This approach is intended to function as a meta-theory and to help examine the causal relationship of socio-technical change in the respective countries, in the respective industries and in the respective societies in a regional scientific and interdisciplinary manner. Empirically, the new social questions in the age of digitalization in East Asia are captured quantitatively and qualitatively on three levels.
1) Macro level: exclusion of workers from social benefits, polarization of the labor market, and substitution projections. 2) Meso level: polarization of skills, complication and compression of work content.3) Micro level: changing worker consciousness, changing sense of belonging, self-subjectification, fear of digital substitutability. The present project, in interaction with the dimensions of the spiral of socio-technical change, now focuses research on these new social questions.