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Digital Civil Society Lab

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Investigating the challenges and opportunities for civil society to thrive in the digital age.

Digital technologies are transforming society and democracy. This requires new insights into the impact of these technologies and how we can engage with them responsibly, equitably, and purposefully.

The Digital Civil Society Lab (DCSL) aims to understand and inform civil society in a digitally dependent world. We work with scholars, students, practitioners, and policy makers across four interconnected domains that shape a thriving and independent digital civil society:  organizations, technologypolicy, and values

Our approach is multi-disciplinary, cross-sectoral, and global in scope. We research the challenges and opportunities that digital infrastructures, software, and hardware present to civil society. Our current priorities are focused on the social and political impact of data, algorithms, platforms, and artificial intelligence. Embedded in people’s everyday lives, these technologies deserve a closer analysis of how they affect the health of society and democracy. 

DCSL leverages the Stanford community to influence and shape the future of responsible, just, and equitable technology development. Through fellowships, research, events, and teaching, the Digital Civil Society Lab is a hub for emerging scholars, community advocates, technologists, and policymakers seeking pragmatic approaches to harness the promises of technology while mitigating its risks to civil society and democracy.

The Lab is a research initiative of the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (Stanford PACS). It is led by Lucy Bernholz, senior research scholar at Stanford PACS, and Angèle Christin, Associate Professor of Communication.