Deutsch Intern
    IPS Winter School

    Course Programme

    The Power of Algorithms?

    Shopping on Amazon, searching with Google, communicating on social networking sites like Facebook – in all these cases algorithms are at work. They organize and rule the attention economy of the media.

    The IPS Winter School "The Power of Algorithms?" discusses these technical observers from a sociological point of view:

    • What are algorithms actually doing?
    • When and how do they shape the social?
    • How is that observable for sociology when most algorithms still are a business secret?

    For example, you will participate in workshops and lectures on

    • "Algorithms and Predictions"
    • "Facebook and the annoying quest for the perfect algorithm”
    • "Algorithms and Innovation” 
    • "Data construction of communications. Communicative construction of data. A sociological overview"

    Main Topics

    • Sociology
    • Qualitative Methods
    • Big Data
    • Algorithms
    • Social Media
    • Social Networks
    • Facebook
    • Publics
    • Privacy

    Two Levels of Discussion

    The Winter School offers two different levels of discussion:

    • On the one hand there will be a more theoretical discussion with experts from sociology about how Big Data can be perceived sociologically.

    • On the other hand there will be a discussion with experts from practice, like journalists and politicians. How do they deal with algorithms in their daily routines when they organize publics?


    Classes will include lectures, group discussions and activities allowing students to participate and engage in course activities. You will work with

    • Professor Elke Wagner (Professorship of Sociology and Qualitative Methods of Empirical Social Research, University of Würzburg)
    • Professor Christiane Gross (Chair of Quantitative Methods of Empirical Social Research, University of Würzburg)
    • Niklas Barth (LMU München): "Data construction of communications. Communicative construction of data. A sociological overview“
    • Marcus Burkhardt (University Siegen): "Artificial Intelligence and ist Discontents: Or How to Engage Critically with Machine Learning?"
    • Kathrin Glau (Queen-Mary-University, London): "Algorithms in Finance"
    • Kurt Jaeger (Forum Computer Scientists for Peace and Social Responsibility): "Algorithms and Predictions"
    • Harald Katzmair (Vienna): "Angry People Click"
    • Juhi Kulshrestha (GESIS): "Introduction to auditing algorithms"
    • Gregor Schmalzried (Journalist at Zündfunk, Bavarian Broadcasting): "The gods of content: How algorithms make and break today’s media”
    • Robert Seyfert (Duisburg / Essen): "The algorithm as a social object. Observations from relational sociology"
    • Jochen Steinbicker (Berlin): "Surveillance and the digitalization of the conduct of life"
    • Martin Stempfhuber (Uni Würzburg): "Using GrindR"
    • Workshop with Lea Goldan and Laura Zapfe (Uni Würzburg)

    as well as other staff members (changes to the programme possible).

    Produce Data Yourself

    Additionally, all participants are invited to produce data on the topic of algorithms themselves:

    • Which experiences in dealing with Big Data have been made?
    • How are algorithms and their organization modus imagined?