Vilnius, Lithuania

Platformization of Politics in Non-Democracies: Belarus in the 2020s in Comparative Perspective

when 7 August 2023 - 18 August 2023
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 3 EC
fee EUR 500

The miraculous massive politicization of Belarusian society in the summer and autumn of 2020 has generated a variety of perspectives to make sense of this change, including nation building, the erosion of the foundations of authoritarianism, gender roles in public politics, protest as creativity, grassroots activism, and mushrooming local communities. This Summer School brings all of these perspectives into focus, and it emphasizes the critical entanglement of this politicization with the reality of digital platforms. It thus aims to examine the profound destabilization of power relations in Belarus in 2020-2021 as a result of the interplay among digital technologies, society, and politics. By bringing to the classroom cutting-edge theory, established expertise on Belarus, the experiences of various actors in the field, and the studies of similar cases of digitalization of politics in non-democracies, the Summer School creates an immersive learning environment with analytical and ethical dilemmas.

The expected overall result of the Summer School is the elaboration of a narrative of the transformation of political realm in non-democracies due to the spread and omnipresence of digital platforms. This narrative is to be co-created by the Summer School participants, tutors, lecturers, and invited social partners. For this purpose, the curriculum is composed of three modes of input: 1) lectures and discussions on the specificity and political impact of digital platforms in non-democracies; 2) lectures and discussions on the major trends in Belarusian society, culture, and politics; 3) meetings and networking with representatives of Belarusian NGOs, independent media, and research organizations; and 4) facilitated discussion of readings on the political powers of infrastructures and digital platforms.

Course leader

Dr. Siarhei Liubimau

Target group

Applications are accepted from practitioners and students of all levels in fields of sociology, political studies, journalism, anthropology, STS, media studies, urban studies, culture studies, history, philosophy, gender studies, design, art and multimedia.

Course aim

Learning outcomes:
Skills of data driven analysis of social media audience and impact
Skills of analytical work with activists’ and organizations’ real-life dilemmas in Belarus and other non-democracies
Steered development of joint projects
A block of lectures on political dimension of infrastructures and digital platforms
A block of lectures on Belarus current society, culture and politics

Credits info

3 EC
3 ECTS are granted to participants who deliver final project.

Fee info

EUR 500: BA and MA students from German universities can apply for DAAD Go East stipend.
Participation fee for DAAD stipend holders (12 stipends available) – 500 euros
EUR 300: Participation fee for at-risk students – 75 euros
Participation fee for all other applicants – 300 euros


DAAD GoEast stipends
EHCN OSUN stipends, category - Student Research and Professional Opportunities