Communitarianism 2.0: Austerity Protests and Political Participation on Social Media

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Within the context of the financial crisis and austerity protests in Greece, this article elucidates the potential of Facebook communities to realise democracy as a notion that transcends instrumental processes of electing political elites while at the same time reinstating a cultural order and legitimising exclusionary political and communication practices. The article contrasts Facebook communities with John Dewey's vision of democracy as a form of social cooperation, which orients citizens toward pluralistic associations and overlapping political discourses. In order to overcome discredited economistic approaches, the article highlights the social dimension of the crisis by developing a media sociology for the analysis of the technological turn to community. The media sociology developed here refrains from sociology of media approaches, which explain the formation of social media communities as a result of hard variables such as the economy and political corruption. Media sociology will deploy social media communities for the analysis of the collective meanings of these variables. The article deals with the Facebook community ‘Indignants in Syntagma’. The focus is on the activism of the movement from 25 May 2011 to 23 June 2012. Instead of Dewy's concept of democracy the Indignants' communities tend to forge a Web enhanced regime – defined here as Communitarianism 2.0. The direct democracy envisioned by this regime is closer to Schmitt's constitutional theory in which national and cultural homogeneity is a necessary precondition for the democratic exercise of any given political formation and authority.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNetworking Knowlege: Journal of the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2013


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