[Video] Data-Fetishism, Surveillance and the Failure of Networks
I recently presented a 50-minute seminar at the University of Otago political studies department entitled “Data-Fetishism, Surveillance and the Failure of Networks: Social Media After Trump”.
The era of Trump represents a crisis of elite American opinion, leadership and competency in seemingly innumerable ways. It is my contention that the ideological and organizational failure of the Democratic Party is born of technocratic post-politics and a fetishization of data-driven political campaigning. The Obama and Clinton Democrats self-confidently presented themselves, organizationally and spiritually, as the party of tech’s promise. TED Talk soothsayers cast big data and online as forces for social collaboration, deliberation and techno-solutionism. Data was the engine of Clinton’ algorithmic campaign while Trump’s operation was cast as retrograde and destined for failure. Clinton’s spectacular demise represents both a technocratic inability to confront “the political” and the repressed true of nature of the surveillance technologies and data companies exalted as social organizing forces. In this crisis of political communication that has followed the election the optimism of the networked society has reverted to the paranoid paradigm of surveillance foundational to the Internet.
Corrections: For some reason I called Cass Sunstein “Stevenson”, confused Frederick Dutton with the Australian MP Peter Dutton and the Ithiel De Sola Pool book I blanked on was “Technologies of Freedom”.