About us

Communication Networks and Social Change (CN&SC) is a research group from the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) of the Open University of Catalonia (UOC).

Communication, a key aspect of human activity, is crucial in the configuration of power relations among people, social groups, and institutions. In an ever-evolving landscape of media ecologies, digital technologies enable the ubiquitousness of communication networks. Such networks constitute the new social morphology of our societies and, avoiding techno-deterministic assumptions, we analyze how political, economic and, in general, social changes are shaped by them.

We develop our research on social changes from two perspectives that articulate the research lines. The first one, called “Technopolitics”, is the analysis of new forms of political expression and civic participation brought by networked social movements, emerging technopolitical concepts and practices, and new digital infrastructures. The second one, “Societies”, is the analysis of the role that digital (mobile) communication plays in empowering and developing individuals’ potentialities among non-central societal groups, mainly older people and low-income populations. An aspect that crosscuts these perspectives is our (non-pasive, but critical) adoption of innovative methodologies, in order to better understand the limitations and opportunities provided by new digital methods.

By developing scientific knowledge in these thriving areas, our research group will contribute to better understand crucial social changes of our contemporary societies. As a concluding remark, we will also contribute in building collaborative ties with different social actors in alignment with the late ethical and responsible research agenda.

Manuel Castells
Principal Investigator
Manuel is a Spanish sociologist recognized for his research on the information society, communication, and globalization. The Social Science Citation Index, with data between 2000 and 2015, ranks him as the fourth most cited social scientist in the world, and the first in the field of communications.
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Mireia Fernández-Ardèvol
Codirector
Mobile communication has been one of her main areas of research since 2003, adopting a combined approach of sociology and economics. She is interedtes in both developed and developing countries. With a background in economics, she obtained her doctoral degree at the University of Barcelona. In her research she takes a multidisciplinary approach, combining quantitative and qualitative techniques.
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Marta Almela Salvador
Research Assistant
PhD in Communication, Technologies and Society by La Sapienza Università di Roma (2016) with a dissertation on citizen participation, web 2.0 and participatory processes enabled by the administrations. BA in Economics and Business Administration (University of Barcelona, 1993) and MA in Marketing Management (DAF, Esade 1999).
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Daniel Blanche
Research Assistant
Daniel is BA in Communication, MA in Sociological Research at the Universitat de Barcelona (UB) and MA in Sociological and Demographical Research at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF). Currently, he is PhD candidate in Political and Social Sciences at UPF.
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Antonio Calleja-López
Researcher
PhD in Sociology (University of Exeter), D.E.A. in Philosophy (University of Seville), MA in Political Science (Arizona State University) and Diplomate in Sciences of the Education (University of Seville). He participates in projects that range from the sociological studies of laboratory and techno-scientific innovation to the intersections between arts and politics, passing by the analysis of social movements.
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Marcela Canavarro
Visiting Researcher
PhD candidate in Digital Media with a specialization in Journalism (University of Porto), MA in Communication and Culture (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro), specialization in Project Planning for Digital and Interactive Media (Senac-Rio) and Diplomate in Journalism (UFRJ). Her research interests are critical Internet studies and digital methods applied to social research.
Master thesis
Pedro Jacobetty
Research Assistant
Pedro Jacobetty has a BA and MA in Sociology from the University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL) and a PhD in the Information and Knowledge Society at the Interdisciplinary Institute of Internet (IN3) of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC).
Juan Linares
Researcher
His research interests are movements, networks and journalism. BA in Audiovisual Communication at the University of Barcelona (UB), and MA in Advanced Studies in Social Communication at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF). Currently, he is PhD candidate in Communication in the Department of Communication at the UPF.
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Arnau Monterde
Researcher
PhD in Information and Knowledge Society at the Open University of Catalonia. Coordinator of the Technopolitics area in the Communication Networks and Social Change research group at the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute since 2011. Participant in the research network Datanalysis15M. He investigates the emergence and evolution of movements in the network society from a situated and interdisciplinary perspective, crossing different methodologies of analysis. He also works on emerging models and forms of network participation and democracy.
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Andrea Rosales
Postdoctoral Researcher
Andrea received her Ph.D. in Information, Communication and Audiovisual Technologies at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) with the dissertation "Wearable designs and playful accessories for the promotion of free play among school-aged children" (2014). Previously she received an Interdisciplinary MA in Cognitive Systems and Interactive Media at the same university, and a BA in Social Communication at Universidad del Valle.
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Javier Toret
Researcher
BA in Psychology at the University of Málaga. His interests are at the intersection of philosophy, politics, psychology, and technology. He investigates the transformations of subjectivities and forms of communication, action and collective organization in the network society. He coordinated the collective research project titled: "Technopolitics: The power of connected multitudes. The network system #15m: A new paradigm, distributed politics".
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Sarah Wagner
PhD Student
Sarah is a doctoral student at the IN3's Information and Knowledge Society program since 2012. Her research analyzes the position of indigenous communities within the framework of mobile telephony policies and industrial structures from an interdisciplinary perspective.
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Adrien Semail
Alumni
Adrien Semail received his BA in Spanish and Commerce from the University of Edinburgh before beginning his MA in International Relations at the Institut de Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals (IBEI). His main interest is in information and communication technologies (ICT) and democracy in developing countries.
Jéssica Zambrano
Alumni
Jéssica is currently enrolled in a MA in Statistics and Operational Research, with an emphasis on Business and Social Statistics at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC). Her interests focus on the exploration, analysis and interpretation of data on issues related to economics, business and social studies.
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