Join us for Jeremy Gilbert’s (@jemgilbert) Keynote “Platforms and Potency” on 10 October in Konstanz

Discuss with us the different meanings of commoning and digital media at Media | Practices | Commoning in Konstanz (9-11 October 2017).


Keynote Lecture

Platforms and Potency. What Does it Take to Achieve Collective Agency Today?

ABSTRACT: In recent years, both progressive and conservative social forces have found uses for new media technologies. Social media have been central to extraordinary mobilisations of support for radical political leaders like Corbyn and Sanders. The capture of huge sections of the creative economy by platform corporations such as Amazon and Netflix has been arguably the defining feature of recent shifts in the operation of global capitalism. The occupation of the US Presidency by the alt-right apparently was apparently enabled by the deployment of data analytics, social media and online platforms. What have we learned from all this? Is it possible to draw some conclusions from these experiences about the necessary conditions under which potent collectivities can be constituted in the new media sphere, and about the mechanisms by which new commons can avoid capture and exploitation? Under what conditions are mediated experiences of collectivity genuinely empowering, and under what circumstances are they merely illusory compensations for the absence of effective democracy and the wholesale degradation of the commons? 


Jeremy Gilbert is Professor of Cultural and Political Theory at the University of East London, Editor of the Journal New Formations, Author of books such as Anticapitalism and Culture (2008) Common Ground: Democracy and Collectivity in an Age of Individualism (2014) and Hegemony Now: Power in the Twenty-First Century (with Alex Williams, forthcoming).

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