New Research Fellow for Interdisciplinary Research on Digital Society and Economy

By Dr Ryan Casey (School of Sociology and Political Sciences)

Hi! I’m Ryan Casey and I’m the new-ish IRT Fellow in Digital Society and Economy based in the College of Social Sciences. My research interests are around how people feel about and live with digital technologies and data-driven practices in their everyday lives, particularly in the context of digital punishment and in/justice. I’ve been exploring this in different ways over the last few years as my academic career develops. I’m strongly committed to interdisciplinary research and opening up new, or at least different, ways of thinking about technology, society, and justice. When these areas intersect, there are complex questions around dis/empowerment, embodiment, neutrality, privacy, harm, and social control.

Before academia, I worked in mental health and substance use treatment courts (i.e. alternative sentencing) in New York, where I first began to realise the extent to which digital technologies, monitoring, and predictive systems are relied upon to categorise information and people, as well as make important decisions. I completed my PhD in Criminology at the University of Glasgow in 2021 where I undertook an ethnographic study of penal electronic monitoring to better understand how digital technology mediates punishment. Since then, I’ve worked as an RA on the ‘Scotland in Lockdown’ project at Glasgow, which involved exploring the experiences of people under criminal justice control during the Covid-19 pandemic and the organisations that were working to support them in a time of crisis. I was also a Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, working as a digital ethnographer on an ESRC-funded study ‘Security in Place’ with a team of researchers from Oxford, Keele, Edinburgh, and UCL studying everyday in/securities, concerns, and place-making in an English town. I also worked as a Research Associate on a small pilot project ‘Connected Homes’ which was based on a partnership between the University of Glasgow and The Crichton Trust based in Dumfries. The pilot explored how digital connectivity, data-driven services, wellbeing, and home life are interconnected in a rural place. I’m also currently a Scottish Justice Fellow, which is a policy and practice focussed fellowship co-funded by the Scottish Government, the Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR) and the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR). I’m also currently Co-Investigator on a Scottish Government-funded project looking at the use and impact of public space CCTV in Scotland, exploring public surveillance in terms of its technical, social, and place-based dimensions.

The intersections between the digital and the social are complex, but they also raise fundamental questions about what kind of society we want to live in, the impacts of datafication in our everyday lives, and what an inclusive and just digital future could look like. For me, the Digital Society and Economy IRT is a way of untangling and addressing complex issues through interdisciplinarity and collaboration with academics, communities, practitioners, and policymakers.

Interdisciplinary Research Fellows have been appointed in order to support funding applications from colleagues across the College of Social Science, as well as working on fellowship applications to further their own research trajectories. If you are thinking about applying for funding and wondering how Yang's role could support this, please get in touch:

First published: 7 September 2022