21 November 2018: The University of Canberra’s Centenary Research Professor Deborah Lupton travelled to Denmark to receive an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Copenhagen last week, in recognition of her ground-breaking contributions to the sociology field.
Professor Lupton is world-renowned for her work on the sociology of risk, and the sociocultural dimensions of medicine and public health. Her latest work has focused on how digitisation influences social relationships, and the social impact of digital data and digital health technologies.
“The Honorary Doctorate is the highest academic honour bestowed by the University of Copenhagen, and it is a great privilege to receive it,” Professor Lupton said. “It came completely out of the blue, as I didn’t previously know anyone at the university prior to this.”
“The award means that I now have a special connection to the university, and during my visit I had several opportunities to discuss future ideas for collaboration with colleagues there, to build on this connection.”
The University of Copenhagen is one of the oldest in Europe, and the Honorary Doctorate award ceremony is part of its traditional annual celebration. The ceremony is followed by a reception and a special performance at the Opera House.
Professor Lupton was honoured to meet Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark at the events.
“There were six Honorary Doctorate awardees, across different faculties, and we were each invited to sit next to the Queen at the reception,” she said.
“The Queen and I had a conversation about Australia – and her Australian daughter-in-law, Crown Princess Mary.”
During her visit to Copenhagen, Professor Lupton conducted a public lecture, master class and seminar.
“My public lecture was on Digital Selves: A Sociological Analysis,” she said. “It built on my current research on understandings and representations of personal digital data.”
Professor Lupton’s master class explored the use of innovative social research methods for digital sociology. She led several hands-on research activities with doctoral students and early career researchers from the social sciences at the University of Copenhagen.
“The seminar was on critical digital health studies, involving presentation of my research and discussions on their projects with colleagues and students from anthropology and public health at the university,” she said.
“These are all issues which are very relevant and of interest to people in their everyday lives, as well as academics and industry – and that’s what makes it all so engaging. I am really interested in how people use social media, new apps, wearable devices and patient support platforms, and what they find valuable or frustrating about these media.”