Accepted Paper:

Since 15M: the (contentious) technopolitical reassembling of democracy in Spain  


Antonio Calleja-López (Internet Interdisciplinary Institute/ Universitat Oberta de Catalunya)

Paper short abstract:

The talk analyzes and critically assesses the experimentation with technopolitics and alternative forms of democracy in key projects of the 2011-2016 cycle of contention in Spain (the most relevant one in the country since its re-democratization in the 1970s), opened by the 15M social movement.

Paper long abstract:

On May 15th 2011, a long cycle of contention (Tarrow, 1994) opened up in Spain. The 15M movement reclaimed "real democracy" and social justice in a time marked by an acute economic and political crisis, and austerity policies. Within this cycle, a variety of connected projects and processes have challenged the established model of (neo)liberal representative democracy, and some of its key social forms. Core challenges and alternatives to that model have been usually tied to experiments with "technopolitics", otherwise, they have involved politicized and innovative technological mediations of politics. In this talk I present and critically assess key cases within the 2011-2016 cycle; they are innovative forms of "politics as usual", which are specially suited for applying STS analytical devices and approaches. The cases include social movement organizations (Real Democracy, Now! in 2011), networked urban assemblages (the square encampments of 2011), new political parties (Podemos in 2014), and institutions (the participatory councils of cities such as Madrid and Barcelona in the period 2015-16). I recur to analytical devices and approaches coming from STS (Haraway, 1997; Latour 1987, 2005; Winner, 1986, 1992) to critically assess the meanings, possibilities, and limits of the intertwining of technologies and politics in processes aiming at--what we may label as--"technopolitical alter-democratization". With this we try to contribute to discussions on technopolitics (Hetch & Callon, 2009; Nahuis & Van Lente, 2008; Winner, 1986, 1992), and on the relations between materiality, politics, and democracy (Brown, 2015; Marres, 2012; Papadopoulos, 2011).

Panel T036
Social Studies of Politics: Making Collectives By All Possible Means