– Discourses, Strategies and Processes
The digital transformation (DT) refers to the changes in society, politics, economy, culture and science driven by the rapid spread of information and communication technologies. With the exchange of ever-larger amounts of data as well as the exponential increase in the performance of computer hardware and software due to the expansion of digital infrastructures, DT is currently undergoing novel developments marked by new dynamics. The focus on Japan is relevant in two ways. First, as a highly developed industrial and technological nation, the country plays a role in the development and implementation of digital infrastructures and applications of international significance. The “Society 5.0” strategy propagated by the government in 2016 clearly expresses the expectations linked to DT and its associated claim to global leadership in this realm. Second, even if DT presents itself as a global trend, development strategies and adaptation processes have clearly recognizable national characteristics. This is due to different political systems, political-economic traditions, legal systems, economic structures, educational and scientific systems as well as social values. This applies in particular to Japan, whose economic and technology policy, industrial organization, management system, social structure and culture have long been the subject of Japan-specific and comparative studies. The focus offers a rich spectrum of questions from the social sciences and humanities regarding technology development and application, political support measures, government regulation and private sector strategies. Likewise, this research focus investigates questions regarding the changes in the economy, society, education, training and science that are associated with technology use, as well as regarding social discourses conducted in relation to DT. When going beyond Japan, both comparative and transnational research perspectives can also arise. In addition, the research focus includes projects from the digital humanities. Here, DT is not itself an object of research, but rather provides resources and methods for humanities research.