Personal profile

Research interests

Vanessa has a multidisciplinary background in anthropology, sociology, organization science, and information studies. She received an MA in Social Anthropology and obtained a PhD in the Social Sciences from the Department of Economics (both University of Amsterdam). From 2005 to 2013, she worked as a postdoc/ lecturer at the Department of Sociology of the University of Konstanz, Germany. Next, she held a lecturer position at the Informatics Institute of the University of Amsterdam. Since July 2019, she is at the Department of Information Science of the Open University of the Netherlands, teaching subjects such as Digital Transformation and Ethics in Digital Innovation.

Her research is dedicated to the development of novel social science research methods combining computational techniques with qualitative research. Examples include online social network analysis, virtual ethnography, interpretive social simulation and the qualitative study of large data sets. Other research interests include: algorithmic management and platform control; digital transformation for social sustainability and, ethics of AI.

Key publications:

Neumann, M, Dirksen, V. & S. Dickel (2024) On the Construction of Plausible Futures in Interpretive Agent-Based Modelling, in: M. Neumann (ed.), An Interpretive Account to Agent-based Social Simulation: Using Criminology to explore Cultural Possibilities, pp. 170-188. London: Routledge.

Dirksen, V., Neumann, M. & U. Lotzmann (2022) From agent to action: The use of ethnographic social simulation for crime research, in: special issue ‘Simulation and Dissimulation’, Futures 142, 102994.

Arnoldi, E., Bosua, R. & V. Dirksen (2021) Mapping themes for the wellbeing of low-skilled gig workers: Implications for digital platform design, Transitions: Journal of Transient Migration 5(1), pp. 55–75.

Dirksen, V., Van der Meulen, I., & W. Van der Leest (2021) Netwerken van netwerken in transit, Tijdschrift voor Criminologie, (63) 2, pp. 129-145.



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