The Peoples' Internet (PIN)
Digital networks are among the most flexible and universally applicable technologies ever invented by humans. But the many significant variations in the social uses of the internet around the world remain poorly understood. The PIN project compares the current state and future potential of the internet in three centers of the global economy and world politics – China, Europe, and the United States. The internet represents the global communication infrastructure of the twenty-first century – a resource for the peoples of the world to monitor and address established political and economic powers.
Introduction by Professor Klaus Bruhn Jensen
The internet is among the most flexible and universally applicable technologies ever invented by humans. Nevertheless, the many significant variations in the social uses of the internet around the world remain poorly understood. The Peoples’ Internet (PIN) project compares the current state and future potential of the internet in three centers of the global economy and world politics – China, Europe, and the United States – focusing on the interplay of civil society with the other two key sectors of modern societies: market and state.
The internet represents the global communication infrastructure of the twenty-first century – a resource for the peoples of the world to monitor and address political and economic powers. As such, the internet is key to the development of sustainable institutions at the local, national, and global levels that enable communication and collaboration, including in domains and on topics that generate contestation and conflict. To help focus its research questions, PIN will consult with representatives of business, political life, and NGOs at the beginning as well as in the conclusion of the project. In a future perspective, PIN will contribute to a global research infrastructure to support further studies and applications of the internet around the world.
Population surveys about media use, communicative patterns, and public participation in social and cultural activities – in China, the US, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and the United Kingdom
Ethnographic fieldwork exploring the interrelations of media and communication with everyday routines and cultural traditions
Big data analyses tapping the bit trails that users leave behind as they move around the internet
Fiona Huijie Zeng, PhD student
Signe Sophus Lai, PhD student
Jesper Pagh, PhD student
- Fernando Bermejo is Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and also the Research and Program Director of Media Cloud.
- Philip Howard is Professor and Director of the Oxford Internet Institute.
- Rikke Frank Jørgensen is Senior Researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights.
- Sun Sun LIM is Professor and Dean at the Singapore University of Technology and Design.
- Lee Rainie is Director of Internet and Technology Research at the Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C.
The PIN project builds on a model of communication covering one-to-one, one-to-many, as well as many-to-many forms of interaction, published in 2011 in New Media and Society.
The model informed an EU COST Action, including a comparative study of media and internet use in nine European countries. The results of this project were published in 2015 in a special issue of the International Journal of Communication, which also addressed the question of how to capture and compare the uses of a rapidly changing internet.
The implications for developing internet use studies was further explored in this article:
Publications from the project include empirical, theoretical, as well as methodological contributions.
PIN fieldwork is based on a comparative ethnographic approach, laid out in an article co-authored by three PIN scholars. Tracing Communicative Patterns. A comparative ethnography across platforms, media and contexts, Nordicom Review
One article addresses the growing centrality of mobile communication in the global media environment. Jensen & Helles (2018).
Another article examines many-to-one communication: the users of social and other digital media speak into the system and are monitored by commercial and political interests. Jensen & Helles (2017) - A related article addresses the consequences, at once cultural and commercial, of digital surveillance. Helles & Flyverbom (2019)
Copenhagen core group
The Chinese partner is Baohua ZHOU at Fudan University in Shanghai.
Covering Hungary in the PIN project is Miklós Sükösd who is affiliated with the University of Copenhagen.
The Italian collaborators come from two different universities: Nicoletta Vittadini and Piermarco Aroldi belong to the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan, and Francesca Pasquali is affiliated with the University of Bergamo.
The PIN project is funded by the Carlsberg Foundation and coordinated by the University of Copenhagen. Read about the project at the Carlsberg Foundation's website.
Project period: 2016-2019
The opening conference of the PIN project – Always on. Always in? – 6 December 2016 in the Ceremonial Hall of the University of Copenhagen.
Regional conference, Northwestern University, Chicago - 29-30 November 2018
Regional conference, Peking University, Beijing - 29-30 June 2019
Concluding conference, Carlsberg Academy, Copenhagen, 5-6 December 2019, marking the 50th anniversary of the internet: ARPANET, 1969