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Privacy and Personal Identity in the Global Network Society

School of Arts and Creative Industries

About the Project


Privacy has become an urgent issue as a result of rapid developments in information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the arrival of the Global Network Society. While under investigation since the 1960s, there is still much that is unknown about the nature of privacy and personal identity in this new environment. All PhDs need to be grounded in theoretical frameworks and we can offer expertise in information society studies, idealism, ethics, theology, surveillance studies, psychoanalysis, cultural theory and phenomenology. Our specialities include Daniel Bell, Manuel Castells, Jurgen Habermas,T. H. Green, John Rawls, R. H. Tawney, Jacques Lacan, Martin Heidegger, Slavoj Zizek and David Lyon.

Edinburgh Napier University is looking for a PhD student able to conduct an original, in-depth investigation into the question of privacy and personal identity in the Global Network Society, using traditional research methodologies. You will be free to shape the research questions and methods according to your own academic background and interests. While a global perspective is important, you would be welcome to develop case studies, either of a specific country such as China or the USA, and/or a specific technology such as Instagram, Baidu or Facebook.

Academic qualifications
A bachelor’s degree (at least a 2.1, but 2.2 considered) or master’s degree in a relevant subject in information/media/cultural studies, humanities or social sciences

English language requirement
IELTS score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 6.0 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s policy are available online.

Essential attributes:
● Experience of fundamental research
● Competent in theoretical analysis
● Knowledge of global, societal or ethical issues surrounding technology
● Good written and oral communication skills
● Strong motivation, with evidence of independent research skills relevant to the project
● Good time management

Desirable attributes:
Interest in one of the aforementioned authors or schools of thought, or similar
Interdisciplinary approach to questions
Ambition to have work published in academic journals
Willingness to contribute occasionally to newspapers and other media outlets


Castells, Manuel. 2010. The Rise of the Network Society, 2nd ed. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell
Cohen, Julie E. 2012. Configuring the Networked Self: Law, Code, and the Play of Everyday Practice. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press

Duff, Alistair S. 2015. Cyber-Green: idealism in the information age. Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society 13(2), pp. 146-164
Duff, Alistair S. 2017. Contra Bentham: ethical information policy in the PanopticEon. Journal of Information Ethics 26(1), pp. 93-111
Neill, Calum. 2010. Lacanian Ethics and the Assumption of Subjectivity. London: Palgrave Macmillan
Sevignani, Sebastian. 2016. Privacy and Capitalism in the Age of Social Media. London: Routledge

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