Academic journal article International Journal of Communication Research

Quixotism in Contemporary Prefigurative Politics

Academic journal article International Journal of Communication Research

Quixotism in Contemporary Prefigurative Politics

Article excerpt


Within the first age of the digital paradigm, the common man naturalized the public self-expression exercise. The non-political individual started to practice his ability to influence the political arena, regardless of his socio-political regimentation (Joyce, 2010). Since the digital infrastructure was liberalized and common people could not just use it, but also, produce it, a new conceptualization of power emerged. As people started to produce digital instruments and tools, apart from organizational monopolies that used to decide the distribution and the use of digital objects, several cultural values were weighed.

A cultural disposition towards self-transcendence and openness to change (Schwartz, 1992) got deeply embedded within contemporary shared schemes of thinking. The model of emergent democracy (Steven, 2002) and the political philosophy of extreme democracy (Lebkowsky & Ratcliffe, 2005) were absorbed within the new world-view, by their principles, if not by their denomination. This process conduced, in turn, to a new symbolic balance of power between the state and the citizen. If the old paradigm prescribed that citizens are boldly determined by the state structures of power, the new paradigm turns the relation up-side-down and states that citizens are entitled to determine the state (Meier, 2011).

Along with the spread of collaborative decentralized communities, direct action and self-organization became valuable principles. In turn, amid the normalization of direct action and self-organization, more principles developed under modern anarchism were absorbed within the social matrix. It is significant to point out, however, that these principles, even though highly displayed among collaborative digital structures, did not retain their political ideological reference. Instead, they were acknowledged by their practitioners simply as life-style principles. One of these principles regards the equivalence between means and goals, which should not be contradictory. The old political rationalism prescribed the Machiavellian point of view that noble ends could and should be pursued by any efficient means. However, the new paradigm of everyday life sanctions as unauthentic this fast road towards a desired reality (Springer, 2014).

This idealistic view gained practical efficiency as the digital anarchic landscape made it handy to create social forms to practice idealistic values, without pretending to change the word in its whole. So, it became possible to create enclaves where social norms are different from those shared within the traditional order. The individual, who becomes a member of such a community, is not asked to draw back from the traditional order. On the other hand, he is a practitioner of both social orders, at the same time. This duality was long time transparent within our vocabulary that discriminated between offline and online lives. However, the longer an individual experienced the decentralized collaborative digital life, the more he imbued his offline life with the same principles of behavior (Tornero & Varis, 2010). Nowadays, it is considered both inefficient and erroneous to distinguish between offline and online lives within the liquid society (Bauman, 2006).

Most of nowadays the collaborative and decentralized communities allow an individual to experience a different type of social organization. However, these structures are not intended for the accumulation of revolutionary capital, but for the organic social transformation. They provide the individual with tools to find and implement solutions to various life problems. Within the post-anarchist process, the revolutionary idea to change the pre-existing social order is not prominent (Springer, 2014). The exact opposite to it, prefigurative politics rejects the radical idea that an ideal personal life can be developed only within an uniformed social arena. By embracing diversity, it allows an individual to live as he wants "here and now", with no need for a revolutionary moment intended to change the whole world. …

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