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Digital Deceleration. Protest and Societal Irritation in the Internet Age

  • Marc MöldersEmail author
  • Jan-Felix Schrape
Hauptbeiträge

Abstract

Our article examines new potentials for systemic irritation in the Internet age and focuses on the processes of synchronization between media, politics, and law. First, we discuss antipodal assessments of what is accelerated in the digital society: (a) the frequency and accessibility of attempts at “correcting society”, or (b) the perceived need for societal rectification. Based on empirical case studies on social protest movements, investigative journalism, and online petition platforms, we subsequently elaborate our main thesis that the technical improvement of communication structures per se does not necessarily increase the likelihood of the addressed societal systems evaluating the correction queries. Instead, the search for and the design of opportune forms of irritation remain a complex organizational process. To irritate other societal contexts effectively, civil counter forces exercise self-control particularly regarding temporality, retarding their operations according to the operational speed of the addressed meaning systems. This deliberate deceleration in operational timing is considerably facilitated by digital technologies. In the final chapter, we contextualize our empirical findings within a broader evolutionary perspective on social reality construction.

Keywords

Acceleration Civil society Digitization Internet Irritation Movements Protest Social reality construction Synchronization 

Digitale Entschleunigung. Protest und Irritation im Internet-Zeitalter

Zusammenfassung

Unser Beitrag untersucht neue Irritationspotentiale im Internet-Zeitalter und fokussiert Synchronisationsprozesse zwischen Massenmedien, Politik und Recht. Zunächst diskutieren wir die unterschiedlichen Einschätzungen bezüglich dessen, was in der digitalen Gesellschaft beschleunigt wird: (a) die Häufigkeit und Durchlässigkeit von gesellschaftlichen Korrekturversuchen oder (b) der Bedarf an Gesellschaftskorrektur. Auf Grundlage empirischer Fallskizzen zu Protestbewegungen, Investigativ-Journalismus und Online-Petitionsplattformen kommen wir zu unserer Kernthese, dass die technische Effektivierung von Kommunikation allein nicht mit einer erhöhten Wahrscheinlichkeit der Aufnahme solcher Korrekturanfragen in den Zielsystemen einhergeht. Stattdessen bleibt die Gestaltung anschlussgünstiger Formen ein organisational aufwändiger Prozess. Um andere gesellschaftliche Kontexte nachhaltig zu irritieren, üben sich zivilgesellschaftliche Gegenmächte in einer insbesondere die Zeitdimension betreffenden Zurückhaltung, passen ihre Taktung an die Operationsgeschwindigkeit der adressierten Sinnsysteme an. Diese Entschleunigung wird wesentlich durch Digitaltechnologien ermöglicht. Im letzten Abschnitt ordnen wir unsere Ergebnisse in eine evolutionäre Perspektive gesellschaftlicher Wirklichkeitskonstruktion ein.

Schlüsselwörter

Beschleunigung Bewegungen Digitalisierung Gesellschaftliche Wirklichkeitskonstruktion Internet Irritation Protest Synchronisation Zivilgesellschaft 

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Copyright information

© Österreichische Gesellschaft für Soziologie 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universität BielefeldBielefeldGermany
  2. 2.Universität StuttgartStuttgartGermany

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