Beitrag von Julia Pohle und Thorsten Thiel: Digitale Souveränität

Der neue Sammelband von Chris Piallat „Der Wert der Digitalisierung. Gemeinwohl in der digitalen Welt“ ist jetzt bei transcript erschienen und als Open Access verfügbar. Mit dabei ist auch ein Beitrag von Julia Pohle und Thorsten zu Digitaler Souveränität. Die beiden beleuchten darin kritisch die Karriere des Konzept der digitalen Souveränität in Deutschland und Europa und den dazugehörigen Diskurs. Zudem erörtern sie aus einer normativ-demokratietheoretischen Perspektive die Defizite der gegenwärtigen Verwendungsweise und schlagen vor, wie die zentralen Werte von Demokratie und Gemeinwohl von progressiven Akteur*innen besser vorgetragen werden können.

Weizenbaum Colloquium with Irina Kalinka

This week’s issue of Weizenbaum Colloquium was held by our fellow Irina Kalinka, who presented us her dissertation topic „The Political Imaginary of User democracy“.

Contemporary debates about the political impact of digital platforms in the West often revolve around a central, limiting dichotomy: Does digital media revitalize or hurt democracy? Irina’s dissertation project instead shifts the focus to the normative conceptualizations of democracy that are embedded within the platforms themselves. How do they define citizenship, „healthy“ public discourses and the associated practices and pedagogies? Irina understands these underlying assumptions and efforts as the political imaginary of „User Democracy“. She criticizes this notion of democracy, in which subjects are encouraged to imagine themselves as ‚citizen-users‘ of the digital public space provided by platforms. In contrast, she argues for an emancipatory understanding of democracy rooted in the political ethos of (digital) agonism, which emphasizes that popular sovereignty is not an object to be facilitated from above, but a continuous, collective process of struggle around what it means to be in common with others.

Thank you very much, Irina, for your insightful presentation and the subsequent fruitful discussion!

Weizenbaum Colloquium with Irina Kalinka

Tuesday, 23rd of February 2021, 2 pm – 3 pm
Weizenbaum-Institut, online

The upcoming issue of Weizenbaum Colloquium will be held by our fellow Irina Kalinka, who will give a presentation with the the title „The Political Imaginary of User Democracy“, based on her dissertation topic:

Contemporary debates about the political impact of digital platforms in the West often revolve around a central, limiting dichotomy: Does digital media revitalize or hurt democracy? This project shifts the focus to show how digital platforms are not only facilitators – of both democratic and anti-democratic endencies – but also engender their own normative conceptualization of democracy. This includes defining what information is in the public interest, what constitutes “healthy” public discourse, and what are good citizenship practices and pedagogies. What emerges from such efforts is a political imaginary I call ‘User Democracy.’

User Democracy is informed by a technocratic understanding of politics, including the valorization of data and automation, predictability, and systematization. Community and popular sovereignty are here imagined as operational and, thus, potentially programmable, which devalues the need for political contestation, inherent in questions of history, justice, and equality, to play out in a truly public setting. Instead, digital public life is facilitated for political subjects through the ‘service’ of interface-design, algorithmic filters, or user manuals. Under this framework, democracy is seen as a project of optimization and management, not common struggle. Subjects are encouraged to imagine themselves as ‚citizen-users‘ of the service of digital public space, where citizenship is an improvable and quantifiable skill – instead of a shared responsibility.

This dissertation, in contrast, argues for an emancipatory understanding of democracy rooted in the political ethos of (digital) agonism, which emphasizes that popular sovereignty is not an object to be facilitated from above, but a continuous, collective process of struggle around what it means to be in common with others.

If you are interested in attending the Weizenbaum Colloquium, please send us a mail (digidem@wzb.eu) and we will provide you with a link to the conference.

Neue Publikation: Digital Sovereignty

In der Reihe „Concepts of the Digital Society“ der Zeitschrift Internet Policy Review ist ein neuer Aufsatz von Thorsten mit dem Titel „Digital Sovereignty“ erschienen (gemeinsam mit Julia Pohle). In diesem gehen die beiden der Frage nach, wie das Konzept digitaler Souveränität seine heutige Popularität erlangte. Von den Anfängen des Diskurses zu Cybersovereignty bis hin zum heutigen, sehr umfassenden Souveränitätsverständnis zeichnen sie nach, wie Souveränität diskursiv (re-)produziert wird und was insbesondere auf deutscher und europäischer Ebene mittlerweile mit dem Begriff gemeint wird. Neben dem Aufsatz sind auch vier weitere neue Konzepte veröffentlicht worden – insgesamt nun elf -, die einen Blick lohnen: Cybersecurity, Algorithmic Bias, Digital Commons, Smart Technologies. Alle Konzepte finden sich hier und hier kommt ihr direkt zu unserem Aufsatz (selbstverständlich Open Access). Weiterlesen