Session 2: The challenge of measuring privacy across cultural contexts

Date and Time

28/05/2020 – 16:00 – 18:00 (GMT+3) 


Conducting cross-cultural, comparative research poses numerous methodological challenges. Identifying differences between nations, cultures, and contexts requires consistent and parallized research designs, instruments, and procedures.

Key Questions

  1. How can we compare and measure national and cultural differences? What dimensions are important to consider when the goal is to understand between-culture differences in various privacy outcomes? Instead of comparing nations on the aggregate level, shall we aim to identify the societal structures, socio-demographic distributions, cultural values, historical developments, as well diverging technological developments that explain differences in privacy-related variables across cultures? 
  2. How can methods be adapted to different cultural contexts? Comparative research requires instruments and methods that work and measure similarly in the investigated cultures. Challenges hence pertain to the translation of scales, measures, stimuli, codebooks, interview guidelines, and procedures. A particular challenge is to keep the meaning of concepts and items similar and thus comparable. 
  3. How do approaches to research differ across cultures? Although our aim is to conduct cross-cultural research, we do acknowledge that researchers from different cultures may differ in how they approach research (e.g., qualitative vs. quantitative, analytical vs. empirical…). In order to produce meaningful cross-cultural research, it is important to develop a common ground and approach to research. At the same time, an ethnocentric approach to this type of research is flawed from the start. Understanding and meaningfully integrating attempts to de-westernize, or to internationalize intercultural communication research inside the larger frame of the discipline itself, as well as critical inquiry into the nature of the cultural biais of socio-technical arrangements are an essential ingredient of any cross-cultural endeavour.
  4. What other methodological issues do we have to think about when approaching privacy research from a comparative perspective?

Confirmed speakers

Dr. Christoph Lutz
BI Norwegian Business School

Christoph Lutz (Dr. oec. University of St. Gallen) is an Associate Professor at the Department of Communication and Culture and at the Nordic Centre for Internet and Society, BI Norwegian Business School (Oslo). His research interests lie in the area of digital technologies and include social media, online participation, privacy and digital inequalities. In addition, Christoph is interested in digital labor, the sharing economy and social robots.


Dr. Erik Nisbet
The Ohio State University

Erik Nisbet is an Associate Professor at the School of Communication at The Ohio State University. His research focusses on three substantive areas: a) media and international affairs – mostly in terms of American-Islamic relations, b) media and comparative democratization – primarily in Middle East, Africa, and Asia, and c) and science & environmental communication. Starting summer 2020, Erik will be the inaugural Owen L. Coons Endowed Professor of Policy Analysis and Communication and the director of the Center on Policy Analysis and Communication at Northwestern University School of Communication.


Dr. Andra Siibak
University of Tatu

Andra Siibak is a Professor of Media Studies and program director of the Media and Communication doctoral program at the Institute of Social Studies, University of Tartu, Estonia. Her main field of research has to do with privacy, opportunities and risks surrounding internet use, social media usage practices, datafication of childhood, algorithmic workplace and new media audiences. 



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Session 3: Cultural and social boundaries under conditions of “social distancing”