Prof. dr. José van Dijck

“I think it would be wise for European universities to focus on online education that is rooted in their own public values such as bildung and autonomy.”

Research focus
: Media, Social media, Media technologies, Digital education / Digital society, Platform society

José van Dijck (1960) has been Professor of Media and Digital Society at Utrecht University since 2017. Her research focuses on media, social media and media technologies. From 2015 to 2018 she was the first female president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). In 2021, she received the Spinoza Prize, the highest academic award in the Netherlands, from the National Science Council; she also receive the C.Edward Baker Award from the International Communication Association (ICA) for her lifetime achievements. 

Research into public values of the online world

Our social traffic often runs via online platforms. Best known are Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft. In addition to the jubilant stories and opportunities; the role that platforms play in the representation of public interests remains underexposed. Their interfaces, reputation systems, and algorithms that link supply and demand steer the design of society. With major consequences for public interests, such as the accessibility, safety and affordability of (public) transport, pluralism in journalism or the organization of education.

The Platform Society

Together with Thomas Poell and Martijn de Waal, Van Dijck wrote the book The Platform Society. Public Values in a Connective World (Oxford University Press, 2018) This book explores the workings of platforms in three social domains. The starting point is the question: how can public values be safeguarded in the platform society? The book is translated into Italian and a Chinese translation is expected in 2021.

You can listen to an interview about The Platform Society in the podcast of Social Media & Politics. Also take a look at José van Dijck's lecture at the Humboldt Institute fur Internet und Gesellschaft (Berlin) in June 2019 and read a special issue of Internet Policy Review, edited by José van Dijck and Bernhard Rieder on 'digital governance'.


Distinguished University Professor