Associate Professor Ringo Ossewaarde describes himself as a sociologist of governance. He mainly operates somewhere in between sociology, political science, global studies and public administration. Thereby, the teacher of European Public Administration regards technological developments as crucial when it comes to studying societies and governance. ‘Technology was always one of the key forces behind any societal transformation, starting with the gathering and hunting society, then the agrarian revolution, the industrial revolution, or the digital revolution. Technology increasingly plays a key role in our society’.
‘We need new policy and decision makers’
At the same time, Ringo Ossewaarde observes that many public professionals, such as legislators, nowadays are fallen behind technological developments, because they are lacking the required knowledge. ‘Students of European Public Administration will gain the knowledge that a future policy maker or advisor would need to be able to govern, organize, administrate, rule, and legislate. There will be a very big demand for public professionals with knowledge in technology.’ As an example, he mentions the world of cyber security: all governments and companies across Europe struggle to protect their information from hackers. ‘We need new policy and decision makers, legislators, and rulers that have a high degree of consciousness and knowledge about what technological challenges entail. They will be needed in the corporate world, typically in staff departments, we need them among civil servants, policy makers, or in consultancy firms that will increasingly be asked by governments and companies to resolve technological issues. That will not be engineers, but people primarily from the field of policy and governance with knowledge about technology’.
A new industrial revolution
In the program European Public Administration, students will analyze today’s most influential technological developments and the social, political, economic, and cultural consequences they imply. Ringo Ossewaarde suggests that we are currently in a new industrial revolution. How does this impact our society and our state? ‘When it comes to the societal impacts on a daily basis, then I think that the robotization of the labor market has a very big impact, in the economy, it is algorithmic technologies. The students will analyze these technological challenges in a particular context of ongoing transformation: the globalization for instance. How do these challenges impact government organizations or the state on different levels, what do they imply for local governments, national governments, for the European Union?’
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