PhD Defence: Anouk Mols (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Everyday experiences of privacy and surveillance: Negotiating appropriate forms of monitoring

8 December 2021 at 13:00
Senaatszaal Erasmus University Rotterdam
Link to livestream:

Supervisors: Susanne Janssen and Jason Pridmore

On an ordinary Wednesday evening, a family is about to have dinner. Meanwhile, the father receives WhatsApp messages from the neighbourhood crime prevention group, the mother checks the student tracking system of the youngest son, and the daughter instructs a smart speaker to play music. In this scenario, personal information of the family members is collected, processed and shared. In other words; they are the subject of surveillance. The smart speaker collects data for commercial purposes, the mother processes information to support her son, the father is connected to a group of neighbours who keep an eye out on the street (and one another). It seems that the family members don’t care about privacy and trade it for safety, control, and convenience. However, the dissertation of Anouk Mols shows that everyday experiences of privacy and surveillance are more complex. The research is based on interviews with a 100 respondents about the use of WhatsApp for security and work communication, smart technologies, and parental control tools. On a daily basis, people negotiate what forms of surveillance they find (in)appropriate and respond accordingly. They are constrained in these negotiations by a lack of transparency about data collection, and limited influence on surveillance practices. This study leads to the conclusion that tangibility is key to increasing awareness of and resilience in privacy and surveillance practices. Making complex surveillance issues and privacy solutions tangible via metaphors, examples, and visible markers, enables people to better identify surveillance practices and to apply privacy-preserving measures.

PhD Defence: Esther Hammelburg (Hogeschool van Amsterdam)

Being There Live: How Liveness is Realized Through Media Use at Contemporary Cultural Events

3 December 2021 | 11:00 hrs
University of Amsterdam – Aula

Supervisors: Thomas Poell, José van Dijck, and Jeroen de Kloet
Please register:

Liveness is a key concern in media studies, yet has been mostly theorized as a phenomenon related to broadcasting and is understudied for the Internet and social media. This study is an appeal for preserving liveness as a concept that continuously evolves as new media technologies emerge. In addition, it argues for and contributes empirical work to media scholarship on liveness. Through extensive fieldwork on the ground and online at three annual Dutch cultural events – Oerol Festival 2017, 3FM Serious Request 2017, and Pride Amsterdam 2018 – using ethnographic, digital and visual methods, it examined actual situated live instances and the media practices of people experiencing them. The matter of live media practices at cultural events is topical against the background of processes of mediatization and festivalization in the 2010s, and the intersection of these processes as the  COVID-19 crisis boosts mediated communication and restricts physical gathering.

This thesis challenges media theory’s conceptualization of liveness as mediated presence to an unfolding reality that exists in and of itself. It asserts that this is not only an outdated understanding, but one that impedes comprehending what “truly being there live” means. Empirical observations and analysis reveal the constructive role live media practices play in realizing live instances. Live instances, this study suggests, are realized when event joiners align their physical event environment and the various mediated contexts in which they are continuously involved as users of smartphones, social media, TV, and direct messaging apps. It is through their live media practices that they constitute their sense of “being there live” as “being now here together,” in relation to distant times, places, and others. By investigating how live instances are situated in both physical and mediated contexts, this study contributes to and shows valuable directions for future academic research. It also offers tools that can be used for innovating the design of future media and cultural events.


PhD defence: Rashid Gabdulhakov – Erasmus University Rotterdam

Digital vigilantism in Russia: Citizen-led justice in the context of social change and social harm

Thursday 7 Oct 2021, 10:30 – 12:00
Location: Campus Woudestein | Senate Hall

On 7 October 2021, Rashid Gabdulhakov is scheduled to defend his PhD dissertation “Digital vigilantism in Russia: Citizen-led justice in the context of social change and social harm”. The defence will take place at 10:30 CET at the Senate Hall of Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Promotor: Prof. dr. Susanne Janssen
Co-promotor: Dr. D. Trottier

This dissertation describes four years of scientific inquiry into the phenomenon of digital vigilantism. Focusing on Russia, it investigates a unique case where the ruling elites are negotiating a relationship with some digitally savvy citizens while censoring the digital domain and otherwise controlling online self-expression.

The PhD defence can also be followed via livestream. A direct link to the livestream can be found here soon.

PhD Defence: Roel Lutkenhaus – Erasmus University Rotterdam

29 October 2020 | Erasmus University Rotterdam
On Thursday 29 October 2020 at 15:30hr, Roel Lutkenhaus will defend his PhD dissertation.


In 1992, a scene from the TV show Medisch Centrum West—a popular Dutch medical drama— sparked conversations in Dutch living rooms about organ donation. On screen, a doctor had just informed a couple about their son, who had been admitted to the ICU after a car accident. The parents are torn between emotions as the doctor brings up the inevitable: “I am sorry. I know you don’t want to hear this, but Bart’s heart could save the life of another child.”

This scene is an example of Entertainment-Education (EE), a communication strategy that uses storytelling in dramatic serials on radio or TV. It shows how likeable characters, relatable settings, and dramatic plot twists can motivate audiences to talk about health or sustainability issues. EE is more than a message: it inspires communities to talk about their roles, priorities, and responsibilities and serves as a path to social and behavioral change.

Most EE interventions rely on radio and/or TV, while audiences have spread across channels since the advent of the Internet and especially young audiences have become difficult to reach. Online, audiences gather around niche interests, including topics such as fitness, cooking, and mindfulness.

While Medisch Centrum West inspired conversations in Dutch living rooms, it is now possible to extend these conversations to the Internet. This dissertation explores how this can be achieved. Uniting the EE strategy with digital approaches, it explores how audiences can be invited to discuss, reinforce, and further diffuse health-related messages through collective online media engagement.


In 1992 zorgde een scène van de Medisch Centrum West – een populaire medische dramaserie – voor een aantal ernstige gesprekken over orgaandonatie in Nederlandse huiskamers. Op TV had een arts een jong echtpaar op de hoogte gebracht van de toestand van hun zoon Bart, die na een auto-ongeval in kritieke toestand was opgenomen in het ziekenhuis: ‘Het spijt me. Ik weet dat jullie dit niet willen horen, maar Barts hart kan het leven van een ander kind redden.’

Deze scene is een voorbeeld van Entertainment-Education (EE), een communicatiestrategie die gebruikmaakt van populaire media op radio en TV.  Het toont hoe verhalen mensen kunnen aanmoedigen om over thema’s als gezondheid of duurzaamheid na te denken en te praten. EE is daarmee méér dan een boodschap: het kan groepen mensen inspireren om over prioriteiten, verantwoordelijkheden en verwachtingspatronen te praten – een belangrijke stap op het pad naar een gezondere, duurzame toekomst.

De meeste EE interventies maken gebruik van radio en/of TV, terwijl het publiek zich de afgelopen jaren gedeeltelijk naar het internet heeft verplaatst. Daar organiseren zij zich rond hun hobby’s en interesses, zoals als fitness, koken en mindfulness. Dit biedt een kans voor de EE-strategie: waar Medisch Centrum West voor gesprekken in huiskamers zorgde, is het tegenwoorden mogelijk om online gesprekken te stimuleren – met interactieve mediaformats of in samenwerking met social influencers bijvoorbeeld. Dit proefschrift verbindt vier decennia EE-onderzoek met een raamwerk aan digitale benaderingen die gezondheidsorganisaties kunnen helpen dit te bereiken.

Promotie: Peter Veer – Bewogen landschap

Op vrijdag 18 sept. 2020 om 16.00 uur zal Peter Veer zijn proefschrift

Bewogen landschap

een cultuurhistorische studie over de filmpraktijken van het ministerie van Landbouw 1945-1985

verdedigen in de Agnietenkapel, Oudezijdsvoorburgwal 229-231, 1012 EZ  Amsterdam.
Gezien de corona maatregelen is er slechts ruimte voor een zeer beperkt aantal mensen en is het helaas niet mogelijk hierbij aanwezig te zijn.

De bijeenkomst is wel  te volgen op internet. Op de hieronder genoemde pagina komt een dag van te voren een link te staan die even voor aanvang actief wordt.

Ook werkt wellicht de volgende code:

Om de films te bekijken en meer informatie over het onderzoek te weten te komen, ga naar de site van het Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid in Hilversum: