12.5.2022 CIS #25
Linda Monsees

Le séminaire du CIS reçoit Linda Monsees le 12 mai 2022, de 14h à 15h30, pour un exposé en visioconférence et en anglais. Merci de vous inscrire.

Transversal Politics of Legitimacy: Big Tech and the Reconfiguration of the Political

EN. In my presentation I introduce the idea of a future research project. I am interested in examining how Big Tech engages in a politics of legitimacy and of this reshapes the relation between the social, the economic, and the political. Drawing on Nick Couldry’s work, I argue that Big Tech makes claims about its legitimacy by transforming the idea of what societal problems are, as well as the required solutions (datafied social goods). Legitimacy is a crucial concept for assessing democratic politics. There are long-standing debates about what counts as legitimacy: if the input or output dimension should count, or if the process (throughput) is the main adjudicating factor.

However, what interests me here is the way in which claims about legitimacy enact specific political configurations, and “show how it functions in the political discourse” (Kratochwil 2006, 306). The performative dimension of the concept is important. Ultimately, I inquire to what extend this can be understood as a form of transversal politics. A transversal perspective on these phenomena furthers our understanding of how Big Tech becomes embedded in a new public-private configuration that transcends the global-local divide. Crucially, these dynamics should not be read back into a framework of national politics. Analytical attention needs to be paid to the contradictions and overlapping legitimacy claims which are brought to the fore.

Linda Monsees is a researcher at the Institute of International Relations, Prague. Her work is focused on security politics with a focus on digital technologies and the challenges they pose to democracy.

Prior to coming to Prague, she was an AXA-Postdoctoral Researcher at École normale supérieure. Before that she was a researcher at Goethe University Frankfurt and worked on a Fritz-Thyssen Grant at Queen Mary University of London. She received her PhD in 2017 from the Bremen Graduate School of Social Sciences with a dissertation on the security politics of encryption. The thesis was published with Routledge in 2019 under the title Crypto-Politics. Her research has been published among others in Security Dialogue, Globalization, and Internet Policy Review.