The advent of new technologies, whose importance is profoundly reaffirmed in social and professional interactions in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, has had a significant impact also in the consolidation of digital politics and populisms around the world.
The downfall of mass ideologies has indeed brought about a profound transformation of the communication mechanisms within the political sphere. This transition has also been characterised by a progressive and parallel rise of populism and anti-system rhetoric. Such trends emerge both as a result of the deepening distrust towards the establishment or those political parties considered as “technocratic” and as a political momentum generated from within the democratic system.
In this framework, neo-populism arises as a political strategy which lies above the traditional categories of left and right, using intensively the digital medium to communicate directly and without filters with the electorate, whilst basing its programs also on the power and manipulative potential of social media.
It is precisely from this growing role of digitization, that a variety of open questions arise. On the one hand indeed, the web allows an increasing number of people to access – quickly and easily – to an unlimited volume of information, yet, on the other, it also has the potential to distract and disperse communication in a myriad of different spaces.
If lately the United States may represent the epiphenomenon of this trend – especially looking at the recent electoral debate around fake news and the role of social platforms – it is however clear that there is a progressively closer bond between digitization (in its various facets) and politics.
But what is the link between this phenomenon and the rise of neo-populisms on a global scale? And what are the risks and perhaps also the potential opportunities of such relationship? How and in what ways is digitization changing politics, democracy and, ultimately, society at large?
H18:00 – Welcome
H18:10 – Opening statements: Emiliana De Blasio (LUISS Guido Carli) and Fabrizio Gilardi (University of Zurich and Digital Democracy Lab)
H18:30 – Moderated discussion with Nadine Jürgensen