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Digital Hyperconnectivity and Politics: Between Populism and Technocracy

Rogers Brubaker
Tuesday, September 26, 2023, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

ABSTRACT | Digital hyperconnectivity has reshaped political life by transforming regimes of knowing, regimes of feeling, and regimes of governing. It has altered ways of knowing the public world by weakening epistemic authority, reinforcing epistemic suspicion and distrust, and eroding the foundations of a shared public world, contributing thereby to epistemic paralysis on the one hand and epistemic polarization on the other. Hyperconnectivity has altered regimes of public feeling by encouraging the expression and mobilization of moral outrage and thereby deepening partisan antipathy and affective polarization. And it has altered regimes of governing by enabling new modalities of algorithmic regulation, public and private.  The talk concludes by highlighting the tension between the technocratic premises and modalities of algorithmic governance and the populist regimes of digitally mediated knowing and feeling and by specifying how hyperconnectivity can promote both populism and its seeming antithesis, technocracy.

BIO | Rogers Brubaker is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at UCLA, where he holds the UCLA Foundation Chair.  He has written widely on social theory, citizenship, nationalism, ethnicity, religion, gender, populism, and digital hyperconnectivity. His recent books include Grounds for Difference (Harvard, 2015), Trans: Gender and Race in an Age of Unsettled Identities (Princeton, 2016), and Hyperconnectivity and Its Discontents (Polity, 2022).


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