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Trading Discursive for Affective Power at the Digital Square

— Athina Karatzogianni

Digital everyday network media are transforming the public sphere both descriptively and normatively. In turn, this digital public sphere shapes and is shaped by discourses, affect and mobilizations, particularly in the thematic areas of crisis, migration, conflict and culture. This presentation engages with the following questions: How is the public sphere transformed by everyday digital networked media? What kind of ethics are involved in the construction of the digital public sphere? Is there a new nomadic digital ethics and aesthetics of affective/discursive rhetoric, or are hierarchies of race, gender, nationality and class reproduced in isolated polarized online bubbles? The focus is on what digital everyday media do to change language, ideology, mediality, and communitization, not just how different groups might be represented in digital spaces, or how emotions polarize publics. I develop cyberconflict theory further, in order to account for the interrelations across sociopolitical, ideological, organizational and digital elements influencing new sociopolitical formations (Karatzogianni, 2015). To illustrate, fieldwork research is presented from the ESRC project ‘The Common Good: Ethics and Rights in Cybersecurity-ERCS’ in Barcelona, Paris, and Berlin. Thirty in-depth interviews with digital activists, experts and practitioners were conducted during 2015-2016 across both institutional and activist settings, in combination with ethnographic observation. Show More, Show Less.