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The Peoples' Internet (PIN) – University of Copenhagen

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The Peoples' Internet (PIN)

Market, State, and Civil Society in China, Europe, and the United States

PURPOSE: 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 – focusing on the interplay of civil society with the other two key sectors of modern societies: market and state.

METHOD: The PIN project departs from a simple, powerful model of communication, developed by the PI and co-PI, and subsequently tested and verified in a comparison of nine European countries as part of an EU project. Compared to the classic understanding of one-to-one communication (face-to-face or technologically mediated), and the twentieth-century notion of one-to-many or mass communication, the internet has made possible many-to-many communication, as exemplified by Facebook, Wikipedia, and Weibo. On top, many-to-one communication is part and parcel of the internet, as users leave behind their bit trails online for bona fide marketers and public regulators (as well as hackers and spies) to review and recycle. To examine these different flows of communication, the project relies on three empirical approaches: population surveys, ethnographic fieldwork, and big data analyses.

PARTICIPANTS: University of Copenhagen, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and Northwestern University, USA, as well as European partners in Germany, Hungary, Italy, and the UK.

FUNDING: The PIN project is funded by the Carlsberg Foundation (DKK 11 million) – a Semper Ardens research project running 2016-2020.

CONTACT: Professor Klaus Bruhn Jensen,, tel. +45 35328104

FURTHER READING: Learn more about the PIN project at the project website