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The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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Technopopulism: The Emergence of a Discursive Formation

Marco Deseriis

This article argues that technopopulism is an emerging discursive formation that arises from the convergence of two preexisting discourses: populism and technolibertarianism. Whereas these discourses are historically distinct the global financial crisis and the 2011 wave of struggles precipitated the political conditions for their intersection and hybridization.

Type: Journal Article
Year: 2017

This article contends that technopopulism is a discursive formation that emerges from the convergence of two preexisting discourses: populism and technolibertarianism.

Whereas these discourses are historically distinct the 2008 financial crisis and the 2011 wave of struggles precipitated the political conditions for their intersection. Such convergence produces both tensions and possibilities. On the one hand, technopopulism engenders a radically participatory model of democracy, which is ultimately anti-institutional as citizens cooperate and engage in sophisticated decision-making without the mediation of professional politicians. On the other hand, the more electorally successful technopopulist parties are led by charismatic leaders who synthesize the positions that emerge from the netroots to mobilize them against the establishment.

These two seemingly contradictory aspects precipitate in two variants of technopopulism: a leaderless-technocratic variant, which is derived from the open source mode of governance and from early experiments of the Global Justice Movement in networked self-government; and a leaderist-populist variant, which is more strictly focused on the electoral competition as an intrinsically hegemonic practice. The article concludes with a reflection on the discursive complementarity of these two variants.

Deseriis, M. (2017) Technopopulism: The Emergence of a Discursive Formation, TripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique 15(2): 441-458.

http://triple-c.at/index.php/tripleC/article/view/770

News

06/10/2017

Open Democracy Post - "The streets will always be ours" - Catalonia, a referendum from below

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Although some still conceive of the referendum as launched by a pro-independence vanguard, the elite story falls short of explaining the resilient participation of a large part of Catalan civil society. This post at Open Democracy addresses this issue from a different angle.

24/09/2017

New Publication Out - "Social movements and referendums from below. Direct democracy in the neoliberal crisis"

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A timely publication to shed light on the link between social movements that formed as a consequence of the 2008 financial crash and the referendums' dynamic and results.

25/08/2017

Donatella Della Porta con Yanis Varoufakis alla 13esima conferenza ESA

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Wednesday, August 30th (8pm-9.30pm) professor della Porta, who directs the Center on Social Movement Studies(Cosmos), will dialogue with Yanis Varoufakis, Greek Minister of Finance during the first Tsipras government, about the future of Europe and the social consequences of neoliberal economies

Publications

Monograph - 2018

Social Movements and Civil War : When Protests for Democratization Fail

Donatella della Porta, Teije Hidde Donker , Bogumila Hall , Emin Poljarevic
This book investigates the origins of civil wars which emerge from failed attempts at democratization. The main aim of this volume is to develop a theoretical explanation of the conditions under which and the mechanisms through which social movements' struggles for democracy ends up in civil war.

Monograph - 2017

Social movements and referendums from below. Direct democracy in the neoliberal crisis

Donatella Della Porta, Francis O'Connor, Martin Portos and Anna Subirats Ribas
Out now "Social movements and referendum from below", the first book that bridges the gap between social movement studies and research on direct democracy. It draws on social movement theory to understand the nature of popular mobilisation in referendums using unique case studies such as the referendum on independence in Scotland, the consultations on independence in Catalonia, the Italian referendum on water, the referendum on the Troika proposals in Greece and the referendum on the debt repayment in Iceland.