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Digital nationalism: nations between transformation and continuity 
Aaro Tupasela (University of Helsinki)
Nelli Piattoeva (Tampere University)
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Format :
Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

We explore the reshaping and reproduction of nations and nationalism in the policies and sociomaterial practices of digitalization and datafication. Using digital nationalism we ask how digital and data-driven technologies create new forms of national identity, territory, imaginary, memory and more.

Long Abstract:

This open panel explores the notion of digital nationalism where digitalization and datafication reshape and reproduce nations, nation-states and nationalism in new ways. As a political principal nationalism equates the state as a bounded territory with a cultural community performing itself as sharing common traits. Nationalism as discourse (Ă–zkirimli, 2010) builds on broader claims of a shared identity, spatiality and temporality, constructing a frame of reference for making sense of and structuring reality. Old and new conceptions of territory, identity, memory, inclusion and exclusion, among others, (re)emerge through the sociomaterial work of digital and data driven technologies, the policies and discourses that promote them also in the new spaces of digital and often virtual communities such as transnational diasporas or corporate networks (Tupasela, 2021; Couldry and Mejias, 2019; Kitchin, 2014; Trigo, 2003). Across public and private domains some technologies may become powerful tools of communicating and stabilizing social and cultural norms through material and affective, spectacular and mundane means (Larkin, 2008). For instance, historically and contemporarily nations have deployed large-scale infrastructures to bind themselves physically and affectively (Barney, 2017). Technological innovations and aspirations are also indicative of and nurture visions and collective imaginaries of the future (Jasanoff, 2015) whereby different policies and practices play generative and mediating roles between nationalism and technologies. The development of technologies and technological infrastructures entails deliberate or unintentional choices of inclusion and exclusion.

Our panel will discuss these and other emerging forms of digital nationalism to start building an intellectual community focused on this phenomenon. We invite presentations which engage with historical or contemporary empirical cases including but not limited to:

- Education

- Immigration

- Social media and virtual communities

- National digital policies and infrastructures

- Medical technologies

- Visual representations

- Cultural institutions

- Corporate and commercial activities