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Department of Political Science

Digitalization and democratic theory



Thorsten Thiel
Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society, Berlin Social Science Center, Germany



Joachim Blatter
University of Lucerne, Switzerland


Keywords: Democratic theory, digitalization, public sphere, political theory, technology and society

Description: Digitalization is often said to create fundamental challenges to democracy, which reach from societal polarization to algorithmic decision-making, and from undermining sovereign decision capabilities to transforming the core institutions of democratic will formation. Why the digital transformation has been treated in democratic theory with relative indifference only, we need to ask ourselves. As a consequence, we make an attempt to bring together young scholars who have started to bridge this gap by conducting research at the interface between democratic theory and digitalization. Our workshop provides the opportunity to construct frameworks for the analysis of societal and political changes triggered or shaped by the digital transformation. The first part of the workshop focuses on a reflexive understanding of digitalization and how technological and societal changes co-evolve. In the second part we discuss how normative democratic theories help to understand and to evaluate the digital transformations and accompanying phenomena like the polarization of the public sphere. In the final part of the workshop, we finally discuss how far digitalization requires new or transformed theories of democracy.

Target group: Doctoral students, advanced Master students and postdoctoral researchers who who apply normative democratic theories in order to understand and to evaluate the current transformation towards a digital society.

Weiterführende Informationen