Rethinking Digital Democracy: From the Disembodied Discursive Self to New Materialist Corporealities

  • Asenbaum H
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Abstract

To understand what digital democracy is, this article suggests looking at the individual level of democratic subjectivity. Who is the democratic subject and how is it constituted in digital democracy? It revisits the poststructuralist-inspired debate about cyberdemocracy in the 1990s, which conceptualized the democratic subject as disembodied discursive self, reifying through textuality in cyberspace. In contrast, current debates on new materialism offer novel perspectives with attention to the materiality of bodies and things. New materialist thought has been fruitfully incorporated for social interaction online, but they have yet to be applied to political participation. By discussing three examples of political online participation in which users materialize their classed, raced, and gendered bodies, this article contributes to a novel understanding of embodied democratic subjectivity in the digital age.

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Asenbaum, H. (2021). Rethinking Digital Democracy: From the Disembodied Discursive Self to New Materialist Corporealities. Communication Theory, 31(3), 360–379. https://doi.org/10.1093/ct/qtz033

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