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Accepted Paper:

Digital solidarity and the remaking of the political subject  
Marina Gold (University of Zurich)

Paper short abstract:

Digitalization has penetrated the humanitarian sphere. The redefinition of the concept and structures of solidarity in the west do not only reveal the transformations of the nation state into a corporate state formation, but they also point to a new political corporate subject.

Paper long abstract:

The digitalization of social, economic and political processes has also penetrated the humanitarian sphere. While digital technologies were familiar to humanitarian organizations for more than a decade, the Covid 19 Pandemic has expanded and accelerated their use and consequences. These range from drones used to deliver goods to remote conflict-ridden locations or to measure fever to patients, contact tracing and epidemiological reporting apps, the donation of funds through cryptocurrency, to educational tools and digitalized microcredit applications, to name a few.

While cautious of data privacy issues and aware of a general lack of egalitarian access to digital technologies, the humanitarian world still heralds the benefits of digitalization for a more efficient and sustainable delivery of aid. However, what is often overlooked is the larger structural transformations that accompany the process of digitalization not only in the locations recipient of aid, but more importantly in the global north, where these large humanitarian organizations and located. At the core of the digitalization of solidarity is the transformation of the political subject of the extinct welfare state. The current enactor of the solidarious humanitarian project is a corporate political construction, citizen of a deterritorialized corporate state. The transformations of the humanitarian aid structure – particularly clear since the pandemic in medically oriented humanitarian and development spheres – is one of corporatization. Through digitalization, the corporate state redefines the political and social subject and its capacity to empathise with the other (a profoundly human experience).

Panel P20c
Digitalization and the Reconstitution of the Social and Political Realities of Human Being
  Session 1 Wednesday 8 June, 2022, -