De representatieve democratie en de condities van communicatie
until further notice
[S.l.] : De blauwe tijger
Radboud University, 4 april 2017
Promotor : Wils, J.P.
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Leerstoel Praktische filosofie
SubjectCenter for Contemporary European Philosophy (CCEP)
Technology has an increasing influence upon our society. Humans are constantly plugged into media: mass media that reach us from across the globe and social media, that have formed a social sphere in cyberspace. Media shape our self-image. Control the media, control the mind. Politics is about controlling information and framing information. In this way, politicians obtained a tool to wield influence, but modern media also pose a risk to them: due to the increased speed of communication, politicians must constantly respond to media. Pressed by opinion polls, they are urged to act upon these short-term perspectives. Of what consequence is this for the working of political power in representative democracies? And, more specifically, what does the digital revolution – and globalism as its extension – mean for the future of representative democracy? I have studied these questions through political- and media-theory (Pierre Rosanvallon, Byung-Chul Han, Michel Houellebecq and others), but also empirically, by being a city-councillor and through traineeships at the European Parliament and the Dutch National Parliament. Statesmen-philosophers as Montesquieu and Thorbecke stood at the cradle of representative democracy, but could not foresee the increasing and accelerating currents of information that influence policy-making and media-framing today. Representative democracy presupposes reflective distance and deliberation, whereas new media prioritize immediacy and direct interaction. Algorithms, search-engines and social media present new forms of global power: an information economy that wasn’t there when parliamentary democracy was conceived. This implies a technological fortitude versus a political vulnerability. In my Ph.D thesis, I argue that representative democracy can be compared to a house built a upon specific foundation, what Jürgen Habermans and others have called Öffentlichkeit. If this foundation changes, then the ‘house’ may change as well. I examine this foundation as communicative conditions in the areas of communicative pace, communicate space, and communicative media.
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