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01-06-2019 | Hauptbeiträge | Special Issue 1/2019

Österreichische Zeitschrift für Soziologie 1/2019

Digital Deceleration. Protest and Societal Irritation in the Internet Age

Journal:
Österreichische Zeitschrift für Soziologie > Special Issue 1/2019
Authors:
Marc Mölders, Jan-Felix Schrape

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.

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