Technocracy meets populism: The dominant technological imaginary of silicon valley

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Since the tumultuous campaign for the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections, even mainstream avenues have begun to ask if digital technologies have specific political leanings. Often, these discussions have been reduced to debating whether a website is liberal or conservative. However, the question of whether technologies are political is a deeper one than party affiliation: it is about foundational conception of politics-about the role of the state, democracy, and the regulation of social life. We thus need to understand how specific political discourses are constitutive of the things we call technologies and how different political actors discursively envision technology in a political way. In particular, I suggest that attending to the discursive dimension of technologies can help us make sense of claims that connect the recent upsurge of populist forces to corporate digital media platforms. I argue that to fully appreciate how technology is imbricated in today's populism, we also need to understand how technology is itself being constructed through mainstream discourses that are at the same time populist and technocratic.




Ferrari, E. (2020). Technocracy meets populism: The dominant technological imaginary of silicon valley. Communication, Culture and Critique. Oxford University Press.

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