The Digitalization of Politics (DIG502)

The digitalization of politics represents a transformative shift in the way political systems operate. This phenomenon covers the use of digital technologies, such as the internet, social media, and data analytics, in any type of political processes. For instance, digitalization has changed how political information is disseminated, how campaigns are run and how public sector bureaucracies make decisions. These and other changes have profound implications for transparency, participation, and power structures.

In this course we will study the digitalization of politics, asking how the use of data and digital methods changes politics.

Course description for study year 2024-2025. Please note that changes may occur.


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How do digital technologies, such as social media platforms, algorithms, and data science tools, influence politics? How are they shaped by politics and public policy? In this course we will study the relationship between digital technologies and politics with the goal of understanding how digitalization affects political power. Key topics to be addressed include social media and politics, the application of big data and algorithms in public administration and public services, digitalization and the welfare state, political participation and opinion formation in the digital sphere, and international conflict and cyberwarfare. A recurring task throughout the course will be to discuss how digital technologies and data science can shift distributions of power and influence in societies, and thus potentially enhance or moderate existing political inequalities, or create new ones.

Learning outcome

It is expected that the students after completing the course will have the following knowledge, skills, and general competencies:


After course completion, the student has:

  • In-depth knowledge about how the use of data and digital technologies transform politics.
  • Extensive knowledge on how policies and regulations can shape digitalisation processes and their political outcomes.


After course completion, the student can:

  • Critically reflect on the promises and pitfalls that accompany digital technologies in politics.
  • Identify how digitalisation processes shift political power between actors and institutions in society.
  • Apply theoretical perspectives and relevant research in both general and concrete, case-based discussions of the digitalisation of politics.

General competencies

After course completion, the student can:

  • Navigate relevant research literatures and link theory to practice.
  • Participate actively and constructively in professional discussions, in both larger meetings and smaller groups.
  • Make the necessary preparations in order for professional discussions to be informative and useful to inquiries and decision-making processes.

Required prerequisite knowledge



Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Oral exam 1/1 1 Hours Letter grades All

The exam requirements must be approved to qualify for the final exam in the course.

Coursework requirements

Compulsory assignments

All students must prepare an introduction to one of the discussion seminars. The introduction should briefly summarise the curriculum for the week and sketch topics for the discussion. This should include a short case description, a hypothetical or actual digital technology or digitalisation process, that will be discussed using the theoretical perspectives from the curriculum. All students must participate actively in discussion seminars.

Students must be present at a minimum of 2/3 of the weekly seminars. Students who do not fulfil the presence requirement must pass an assignment given by the course coordinator in order to qualify for the final exam.

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator:

Gunnar Thesen

Course teacher:

Jens Kaae Fisker

Study Program Director:

Helle Sjøvaag

Course teacher:

Carlo Michael Knotz

Study Adviser:

Magda Hognestad

Method of work

Weekly seminars with student introductions to course curriculum followed by discussions.

Open for

Digital Society and Societal Transformations - Master's Degree Programme

Course assessment

There must be an early dialogue between the course supervisor, the student union representative and the students. The purpose is feedback from the students for changes and adjustments in the course for the current semester.In addition, a digital subject evaluation must be carried out at least every three years. Its purpose is to gather the students experiences with the course.


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