Internet Galaxy Meets Postnational Constellation: Prospects for Political Solidarity After the Internet

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Citation: Catherine Frost (2006) Internet Galaxy Meets Postnational Constellation: Prospects for Political Solidarity After the Internet. The Information Society (RSS)

doi: 10.1080/01972240500388222


Tagged: democracy (RSS), Internet (RSS), nationalism (RSS), postnationalism (RSS), social relations (RSS), solidarity (RSS)


Summary:

Theorists have proposed that a postnational order could transcend nationalism and take on the responsibilities of the nation-state. Digital communications might facilitate the formation of solidarities beyond the nation. The author identifies four factors giving rise to solidarity that echo elements of Internet social relations:

  1. creation of a shared community with people who have never met but feel the share the same contingencies in life
  2. creation of meaning for shared community - a way of explaining the world
  3. new modes of political engagement reinforced by new community
  4. new modes of inclusion and exclusion that might be reinforced by new community

However, the following four counterpoints make it unlikely the Internet will give rise to solidarity that leads to further postnationalism:

  1. Anonymity makes the formation of new communities of solidarity less likely.
  2. Without obvious boundaries, it's hard for new communities to hold meaning -- the Internet is agnostic to human fatalities rather than giving them meaning as does a nation-state
  3. Potential for increased democratic engagement through the Internet is doubtful
  4. The digital divide and within that language divides may make the Internet merely the leading edge of social transformation

However, the Internet changes quickly. While there is nothing on the horizon, we may be looking in the wrong places -- e.g. the English-language Internet -- relatively excluded communities may be more likely to use the medium to form meaningful postnational solidarities.

Theoretical and practical relevance:

Loyalties based on shared experiences or shared views, discovered via a global network such as the Internet, could transcend the boundaries of today's world. This is an interesting thought in a global society.