Ich freue mich sehr, im Sommersemester 2022 mit einem Fellowship am Weizenbaum Institut in Berlin zu Digitalität und Identitätspolitik zu forschen. Ich bin arbeite in der Forschungsgruppe Digital Citizenship von Martin Emmer und Christian Strippel und bedanke mich bei ihnen für die großzügige Unterstützung. In der Lehre in Freiburg werde ich in diesem Forschungssemester vertreten.

Forschungsprojekt: Online Communication as Democratization. Identity Politics and the Digital Transformation of the Public Sphere

Identity politics is often criticized for destroying rational political discourse and the democratic community through advancing particular standpoints of minorities instead of a universalist perspective. This criticism often goes together with a critique of online communication. Filter bubbles and algorithms are interpreted as amplifiers of identity politic’s particularism, thus pushing its alleged anti-democratic tribalism to alarming levels. To counter such criticism, in my current research, I develop a radical democratic interpretation of identity politics as necessary for the democratization of democracy. This interpretation is based on an understanding of the existing political order as necessarily particularistic and exclusive. Democracy, on the other hand, is the ongoing struggle for equality and freedom and therefore aims at transforming the real existing democratic institutions. And the universal claims of equality and freedom can only become effective through their repeated actualization in particular power struggles. Disruptively breaking through established understandings of universal discourse by particular identity politics is central to the further democratization of democracy. So far, I have not taken the digital transformation of the public sphere into account. At Weizenbaum Institute, I aim to ask if and how the theory of identity politics needs to account for new digital infrastructures. My hypothesis is that online communication, especially in social media, allows both for social closure, which is necessary for the development of a minority standpoint, and openness to the mainstream public. This leads to a new interpretation of phenomena like filter bubbles and algorithmic amplification as potentially valuable elements of democratic transformations and thereby allows to develop normative criteria for their regulation.

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