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Fostering socially and ecologically sustainable digitalisation of welfare states 
Marta Choroszewicz (University of Eastern Finland)
Paula Saikkonen (The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL))
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Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

This panel examines how digitalising welfare states interacts with social and ecological sustainability amidst the integration of highly experimental technologies into welfare services. We aim to foster discussion on envisioning socially and ecologically just futures for a digitalised welfare state

Long Abstract:

This panel delves into the intricate interplay between the ongoing digitalisation of welfare states, the imperative of advancing sustainability, and the pivotal role of Science and Technology Studies (STS) in an era of the welfare administration increasingly embracing highly experimental technologies. Despite the growing influence of advanced technologies, comprehensive considerations of the broader ramifications of digitalisation for the environment and social justice remain scarce.

This panel addresses the urgent need for welfare states to confront environmental crises in tandem with the challenges presented by rapidly ageing and diversifying populations. We seek to spark discussions around the ongoing digitalisation of welfare states as well as envisioning futures characterised by both social justice—ensuring fairness, equity, and inclusivity for all members of society—and ecological sustainability—ensuring that technological advances do not harm the environment but ideally contribute positively to it.

Thus, in this panel we aim to examine ongoing trends and challenges of digitalisation across welfare states but also to build knowledge about the conditions for socially and ecologically just futures that would balance technological change with the imperatives of social justice and ecological resilience. We invite theoretical, methodological and empirical contributions that address the following questions and more:

- What kind of digitalisation in welfare administration may strengthen social or ecological sustainability and how?

- How social and/or ecological sustainability might be already directly or implicitly addressed in the current processes of digitalisation of welfare administration?

- How is the issue of socio-digital inequalities addressed in the ongoing digitalisation processes of welfare states? What are the differences and similarities between the countries in the digitalisation of welfare administration and how those might be connected to earlier developments of these welfare states?

- How to enhance socially and ecologically just futures for the digitalised welfare state?

Accepted papers:

Session 1