Democracy, fascism, and the dissimulative affect of acceleration in social media

Sutherland, Thomas (2017) Democracy, fascism, and the dissimulative affect of acceleration in social media. In: Affect and Social Media, 25th May, 2017, University of East London.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


‘Can one democratize ubiquity, instantaneity, immediacy,’ Paul Virilio once enquired, given that these are ‘precisely the prerogatives of the divine – in other words, of autocracy?’ Indeed, the question of democratic politics, and their compatibility with the accelerative logics of contemporary capitalism, have never been so pressing. In this paper, I wish to argue that the primary affective experience of social media, focusing specifically upon the platform of Twitter, is of an accelerated becoming: a ceaseless stream of disparate data that furnishes us with the sense of a world changing at a pace to which we can never catch up. The last vestiges of the Enlightenment metanarratives of ‘progress’ (and whatever value they held, however contentious) are liquidated in the disorienting affect of a future that can seemingly offer us nothing other than endless, aimless change, and in this context, the perturbing revival of mainstream (crypto-)fascism would seem entirely unsurprising, given that fascism purports an authoritarian control over the flow of time foreign to the deliberation and process of democracy. Rather than engaging in neo-futurist fantasies of ‘accelerationism’, I instead want to consider the technical basis of this affective experience, and its dissimulation of the generative archive undergirding it.

Keywords:social media, time, acceleration, democracy
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P300 Media studies
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Media)
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ID Code:27588
Deposited On:29 May 2017 19:33

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