The Digital Economy: Ubercapitalism or Postcapitalism?

King’s College London, 11 May 2018 – King’s building, Strand Campus
Organised by the Centre for Digital Culture

Register now:

The conference explores the digital economy, understood as the new forms of production, work, consumption, distribution, and finance ushered in by the diffusion of digital technology. From the way we work, to the way we consume and pay for products and services, to the rise of new platforms for consumption and collaboration, the economic field is being revolutionised by digital media. Yet, the jury is still out on whether these changes point to an even more exploitative or rather towards an alternative and fairer economic model.

The event will cover different issues have been the object of intense debate in recent years and questioning the suitability of future trends and innovations: automation and its positive and negative repercussions on working conditions; crypto-currencies and whether they are freeing us from state control or reproducing neoliberal dynamics; universal basic income as a possible new form of welfare befitting the transformation of the economy in a digital era; the rise of digital giants such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon and the consequences of their oligopolistic position in the market; the new models of value formation connected to data mining and analytics; and many more.

Conference programme

Registration: 9.30-10.00
The Entrance Hall, King’s Building

Opening Keynote: 10:00-11:30
Edmond J. Safra Lecture Theatre
Melissa Gregg

Chaired by Alessandro Gandini

Time to work: labour in the digital era

Session one: 11:40-13:15

Safra – Digital Labour I
Chair: Wing-Fai Leung 23
Sidonie Naulin – Working for a Labour Platform and Leaving It.
Paola Tubaro – The Professional Trajectories of Private Chefs From LaBelle Assiette
Philippe Caillou, Antonio Casilli, Elise Penalva-Icher and Julian Posada – The elephant in the dining room: Digital platforms and the restaurant industry
Basak Ozan Ozparlak – Regulating industrial relations 2.0

Nash – Digital Economy in a Global Perspective
Chair: Elisa Oreglia

Jacqueline Hicks: The Asian Data Giants: Towards a New International Political Economy of Personal Data.
Samuel Lengen: China’s Digital Economy and Its Place in Socialist History
Lisa Lin: The Rise of Tencent? A New Era of Digital Autonomy on Chinese Internet Television
Maitrayee Deka: The platformization of the informal economy in India
Kira Allmann – The Start-up Revolution: Venture Capital and Entrepreneurship in the Middle East after the Arab Spring

K2.40 – Digital Consumption
Chair: Zeena Feldman
Yaz Osho – Surveillance, censorship and selection: The critical consumption of digital technologies by women academics
Alex Wade – Ludoeconomics: Past, Present and Future of Pay-to-Play
Aleena Chia – The Moral Calculus of Vocational Passion in Digital Gaming
Sophie Bishop – Vlogging
Tim Jordan – From Lols to Money: the role of sociality and culture in the digital economy

Lunch Break: 13:20-14:20

Session two: 14.30-16.30

Safra – Digital Labour II

Chair: Jennifer Pybus
George Maier – Reconceptualising the Sharing Economy for Class Analysis
Asher Rospigliosi – Graduate employability in the Digital Economy
Angela M Cirucci – Commoditizing Narrative: Digital Labor within Social Network Sites
Sarah Abdelnour and Sophie Bernard – The unlikely mobilisation of VTC drivers in France: A serious attempt at regulating platform companies?

Nash – Theories of digital capitalism

Adam Arvidsson – Capitalism and the Commons
Adam Hayes – The Socio-Technological Life of Bitcoin
Pip Thornton – Linguistic capitalism
Andreas Wittel – Open Access Publishing as Über-Capitalism and as Post-Capitalism
Emiliana De Blasio and Donatella Selva – Digital economy and democracy: present and future challenges

K2.40 – Alternatives to the digital economy

Chair: Bernard Geoghegan

Guillaume Compain – Platform cooperativism: an alternative vision for the platform economy
Cecilia Manzo – New Forms of Local Development
Stuti Saxena – Investigating Open Data initiative in India for promoting citizen engagement
Fortune Nwaiwu – Digital for Development

Coffee break: 16:30-17:00

Closing Plenary: 17:00-18:30

Safra Lecture Theatre

Chair: Paolo Gerbaudo
Nick Srnicek and Athina Karatzogianni
What to do with the digital giants?
Reception: 18:30
Chapters (2nd floor King’s Building)

Digital Everyday Conference Programme

Registration and Refreshments
10.30-11.00The Entrance Hall, King’s Building
Opening Keynote: Judy Wajcman. Chaired by Paolo Gerbaudo

With Alessandro Gandini and Zeena Feldman

The digital day: how are digital media redefining everyday rhythms and routines?


Edmond J. Safra Lecture Theatre


Lunch Break
Session one


Edmond J. Safra Lecture Theatre Nash Lecture Theatre



Digital Labour


Chaired by Alessandro Gandini


Daniel Ashton and Karen Patel: Vlogging labour: everyday and always on


Carleigh Morgan: Bodies In Absentia: Gig Workers’ Voices in Critiques of Platform Economies


Brooke Duffy: Branding Your (Future) Self on Social Media: Discourses of Employability in a Gig Economy
Wing Fai Leung: Freelancing globally: Chinese Upworkers as an emerging virtual workforce


Jamie Woodcock: The new digital everyday of work: platforms and the algorithmic panopticon


Digital Self


Chaired by Paolo Gerbaudo


Alessandro Caliandro: Smartphone use: between virtual and augmented sociality and toward a fluid construction of identity


Ian Tucker: Digital mental health: Affective milieus of the everyday


Rachael Kent: Social Media and Self-Tracking: Representing the ‘Health Self’


Ana Minozzo: The Face of Anxiety: Digital life, style and the self


Marcus Gilroy-Ware: Filling the Void: understanding social media usage as depressive hedonia
Audrey Samson: Digital Data Funerals




Digital Love


Chaired by Zeena Feldman


Jamie Hakim: Chemsex: hook-up apps and queer collectivity in neoliberal times.


Alison Winch: ‘just hanging out with you in my back yard’: Mark Zuckerberg and Mediated Paternalism


Ulla Autenrieth: Family life in the networked age. How the digitalization of communication affects intra-familial relations.


Regner Ramos: Digital Residue: Redefining queer presence in urban space through Grind




Coffee break


Chapters (2nd floor King’s Building)

Session two


Edmond J.Safra Lecture Theatre Nash Lecture Theatre K2.40

Digital Surveillance


Chaired by Mark Cote


Samuel Forsythe: Quieting the Niche: on Dataveillance and Everyday Resistance


Nicola Bozzi: Stereotype Culture – Tagging as a techno-cultural tool


Tanya Kant: Fertile space: algorithmic anticipation of user gender and targeted advertising on YouTube


Pinelopi Troullinou, Alessandro Adamou and Mathieu d’Aquin: Everyday digital learning: quantifying or qualifying the digital learner


Claire Tupling: The datafication of student life. The ethical landscape of students as data subjects



Digital Play


Chaired by Carleigh Morgan


Daniel Chavez Heras: The quiet pleasures of local networks: Against Massive Online Multiplayer Games


Rob Gallagher: Everyday Play: Digital Games, Quotidian Rhythms


Tiziano Bonini, Alessandro Caliandro and Guido Anselmi: Explorers or algorithmically driven listeners? Employing Digital Methods to understand how pop music spreads.


Digital Place


Chaired by Bridget Conor


Gaetano Sabato: Geo Tagging and the digital everyday: a geo-anthropological perspective on some spatial dynamics


Mike Duggan: Constituting a socio-technical sense of place: digital maps and everyday mobile practices


Raul Castro: Poplitics: New Media Rituals and Online Mobilization in Disenchanted Peru


Noureddine Miladi: Digital Youth in Qatar: Social Media uses and consumption behaviour


Closing Plenary: Chaired by Mark Cote

Taina Bucher and Susanna Paasonen

Sociability at the time of algorithms


Edmond J. Safra Lecture Theatre


Drinks reception
18.30-19.30Chapters (2nd floor King’s Building)


CFP: The Digital Everyday: Exploration or Alienation?

This international conference aims at exploring the digital everyday, understood as the transformation of everyday life practices brought about by digital technology. From how we buy, walk around, get a cab, love, break up, go to bed, meet new people and sexual partners to the way we rate services, turn on the fridge, exercise and eat, social media, apps, and Big Data are reshaping some of the most basic activities in our lives.

The conference will explore these digitally enabled transformations by looking at a number of domains affected by these shifts, for instance: of work and leisure, of friendship and love, of habits and routines. We will also explore a number of overarching dynamics and trends in the digital world that contribute to these transformations, including: processes of digital individualisation and aggregation; the elisions of spatial and temporal barriers; trends towards quantification and datafication; and the dialectic between control and alienation.

We invite participants from various intellectual traditions and streams of research including media studies, sociology, psychology, information science, computing and anthropology. Together, we will explore a number of key questions. How, for example, is digital transformation affecting everyday life? To what extent is this process one of increasing individualisation of social experience? Or might there be something more complex happening? What are the new psychological and social pathologies that result from the digital transformation of everyday life and from processes of datafication and quantification? Is digital technology allowing for new forms of control over our everyday life or is it increasing alienation, making us overly dependent on infrastructures beyond our grasp? Is digital technology contributing to extending our freedom to choose, or is it stifling us with an overabundance of options? Is it guiding us towards who we ‘really’ are or want to be, or is it plunging us into a hall of mirrors that only reinforces our isolation and narcissism? Is it facilitating exploration, serendipity and curiosity, or is it installing us into a pre-programmed and predictable world, into a filter bubble where choices can be more easily measured and manipulated?

Proposed paper abstracts may address the following topics: transformations of work patterns; changes in everyday life routine (sleep, meals, etc.); fitness and sport activity; love and sexual interactions; friendship and acquaintanceship; consumption and entertainment; sense of place and time; transportation and tourism; play and leisure.

The conference will comprise two plenary sessions and 4 breakout panels, and will host internationally acclaimed scholars as keynote speakers.

The conference will take on Saturday, 6th May 2017.

Abstract are due by 31 January 2017.

Abstracts should be 250 words maximum, and include the author(s) name and position, and a short title. They should be submitted via EasyChair

Acceptance notices will be given on 28 February 2017.

Extended abstracts of 1,500 words are due on 15 April 2017 to be sent

Conference bios and abstracts

CyberParty conference – May 13th 2016, King’s College London

Bios and abstracts


Andrew Chadwick

Andrew Chadwick is Professor of Political Science in the Department of Politics and   International Relations at Royal Holloway, University of London and Co­Director of the New   Political Communication Unit, which he founded in 2007. Since the late 1990s he has authored   numerous publications on digital media and politics. His books include The Hybrid Media   System: Politics and Power (Oxford University Press, 2013), which won the Best Book Award of   the American Political Science Association’s Section on Information Technology and Politics;   The Handbook of Internet Politics, co­edited with Philip N. Howard (Routledge 2009); and   Internet Politics: States, Citizens, and New Communication Technologies (Oxford University   Press, 2006), which won the American Sociological Association Outstanding Book Award   (Communication and Information Technologies Section) and is among the most widely­cited   books in its field. At Royal Holloway, by whom he has been awarded two Teaching Excellence   Prizes, he teaches courses on the Masters in Media, Power, and Public Affairs. Andrew is co- editor, with Jennifer Stromer­Galley, of Digital Media, Power, and Democracy in Parties and   Election Campaigns, a 2016 special issue of the International Journal of Press/Politics. His   website is at and he tweets from @andrew_chadwick


They’re Parties, But Not as We Have Known Them: Digital Media and (Dis)organizational Renewal

“The role of digital media practices in reshaping political parties is driven by an ongoing   tension between centralized hierarchical control and decentralized horizontal interactivity. The   overall outcome for the party as an organizational form is highly uncertain. Growing evidence   from the United States and Europe contradicts predictions of the “death” of parties and suggests   instead that parties may be going through a long­term process of adaptation to postmaterial   political culture. Digital media foster cultures of organizational experimentation and a party­as- movement mentality that enable many to reject norms of hierarchical discipline and habitual   partisan loyalty. This context readily accommodates populist appeals and angry protest—on the   right as well as the left. Substantial publics now see election campaigns as another opportunity   for personalized and contentious political expression. In some cases parties are being renewed  from the outside in, as digitally enabled citizens breathe new life into an old form by partly   remaking it in their own participatory image. Particularly on the left, the overall outcome might   prove more positive for democratic engagement and the decentralization of political power than   many have assumed.






Cristian Vaccari

Cristian Vaccari is Reader in Politics at Royal Holloway, University of London and Associate Professor in Political Science at the University of Bologna. He studies political communication in comparative perspective and is the Principal Investigator of a comparative research project on the role of social media in citizens’ and politicians’ practices of political communication in Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom ( His latest book is Digital Politics in Western Democracies: A Comparative Study (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013). He tweets as @25lettori.

Cyberparties in Western Europe

Cyberparties are important elements in a growing and sustained trend across Western Europe that has seen electoral volatility and party system fragmentation increase dramatically in the last decade. Political parties and other institutions of representative democracy have struggled to maintain a solid grip on increasingly complex, fragmented, and changing societies, where new cleavages and demands emerge more frequently and are articulated more effectively thanks to, among other things, developments in technologies of communication and political mobilization. This raises the question of what role cyberparties are playing: are they articulating a common core of demands that other parties are failing to credibly address, and are they doing so in similar way across different European democracies? This talk will use survey data from the 2014 European Election Study to compare the policy positions of voters who see themselves as likely to support the Pirate Party in Germany, the Five Star Movement in Italy, and Podemos in Spain. The data highlight both similarities and differences between supporters of the three parties when it comes to their and the parties’ ideological positioning as well as their preferences on various policy issues. These preliminary results indicate that these parties are still to a substantial degree responding to particular contextual conditions and policy demands in the countries where they compete electorally rather than articulating recognizable cleavages that can be observed across countries.






Bernardo Gutierrez

Bernardo Gutierrez is a Spanish-Brazilian journalist, writer, researcher and   activist. He writes about techno-politics, free culture, networks and social   movements. He is part of el Buen Conocer / FLOK Society team in Ecuador and   the author of the techno-political research about Latin America of OXFAM.   He works in the Participation Lab of MediaLab Prado, inside Madrid’s City   Hall Participation Area. 2. title and 150 words abstract of your presentation


Partymovements, network parties and citizen overflows

The party shape seems to be outdated. The presentation will focus on how networks and   interconnected protests are reshaping parties. From Partido X, to Wikipolítia (Mexico) or   Podemos, parties are looking for a new way of behaving. In Spain, after 15M, the so called   municipalism was a quite important turning point for parties, with the birth of   BarcelonaEnComú or Ahora Madrid. The presentation will pay attention to the citizen overflows   that made taking power possible in Spanish municipalism.



Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean teaches political and media theory at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY. She is the author or editor of 12 books, including Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies,   Blog Theory, The Communist Horizon, and Crowds and Party.


Communicative Capitalism as the Limit of Democracy

Participatory media offers quick, easy, universal democracy: anyone with a mobile phone   or access to the internet can make her voice heard. Ideals of equality, inclusion, and participation   are practically realized through global telecommunication. I designate the convergence of   capitalism, digital networks, and democracy communicative capitalism. In communicative   capitalism, the values heralded as central to democracy take practical, material form in   networked communications technologies. Because contemporary capitalism is communicative, democratic rhetorics of equality, inclusivity, and participation strengthen the hold of capitalism   in networked societies. When communication is a primary component of the production and circulation of capital   it loses its capacity to function as a primary means for the rule of the people. Democracy is the   ambient milieu of inescapable participatory media and thus unable to express the people’s desire   and need for economic basics like healthy food, viable shelter, livable income, and an education   that enlarges and excites. I thus have two main points: 1. That “democracy” – realized in   networked communications ­­ fails to register a break in the present, fails to name an alternative,   and is thus politically inadequate to contemporary challenges, 2. That the practices and   technologies that materialize democracy decrease the efficacy of critique and increase inequality. A politics   adequate to the present must be a divisive politics that targets and defeats this capitalist base. It   must be a communist politics.


Birgitta Jónsdóttir

Birgitta Jónsdóttir (born 17 April 1967) is an Icelandic politician, poet, and activist. She is   currently a Member of the Althing for the Southwest Constituency, representing the Pirate Party,   having been elected at the 2013 election. From 2014 to 2015, Birgitta served as the rotating   chairman of the Pirate Party. Since April 2015, the Pirate Party has topped the polls in Iceland   ahead of the 2017 parliamentary election. In February 2016, she announced that she would be   standing for a third term as, according to Iceland Review, “she feels it’s important for the party to   have someone on board experienced in working with the ministries and the inner political   structure to ensure the effectiveness of the party.” In April 2016, following calls for Prime   Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson’s resignation in the wake of the Panama Papers leak,   Birgitta said that the Pirates were ready to form part of a new government in the event of a snap   election. According to recent polls, the Pirates are currently Iceland’s most popular party, with   varying support ranging from 36%­43% support from voters.


Richard Barbrook

Richard Barbrook is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of   Westminster. In the early 1980s, he was involved with pirate and community radio broadcasting. Having worked on   media regulation within the EU for some years at a research institute at the University of Westminster, much of his   material was published in his 1995 book Media Freedom. Working with Andy Cameron, he wrote The Californian   Ideology which was a pioneering critique of the neo­liberal politics of Wired magazine. His other important writings   about the Net include The Hi­Tech Gift Economy, Cyber­communism, The Regulation of Liberty and The Class of the   New. The Media Ecology Association selected Imaginary Futures as the winner of the 2008 Marshall McLuhan Award   for Outstanding Book of the Year in the Field of Media Ecology. In 2014, his book about Situationist gaming was   published: Class Wargames: ludic subversion against spectacular capitalism.

The Digital Bill of Rights

“In the 21st century’s information society, personal freedom is now threatened by the intrusive   attentions of both authoritarian states and monopolistic businesses. If liberty and democracy are   to be enhanced within the Net, what is now required is an energetic public debate over how to   construct a new constitutional settlement which nurtures today’s collective forms of digital   citizenship. Political movements need take this into account when determining their own   handling of the data generated by activists and supporters alike. The sharing of information over   the Net is a premonition of the democratisation of the whole productive process. If they are to   contribute to this collaborative endeavour, everyone must have access to the knowledge and   technologies which will be used to build the emerging network society. Like its liberal and   socialist predecessors, this new dispensation should be guided by its own rules of the game.   The creation of a Digital Bill of Rights codifies the mutually agreed principles for regulating   individuals’ online activities in the common interest. By collectively defining a new vision of   cybernetic citizenship, this generation can make its own world­historical contribution towards   building a truly human civilization. The better future must be anticipated in the troubled present.   Let’s seize this opportunity to transform our utopian dreams into everyday life!”



Davide Barillari


Davide Barillari defines himself a political hacker and a gamechanger. In 2013 Davide was the presidential candidate of the Lazio Region for the Movement 5 Stars, and today is elected in   the Lazio Regional Council, as spokesman of the citizens. He is a member of the Commission of Health and Social Affair and Commission for media pluralism. In his “previous life”, he was a computer systems engineer, and worked in the heart of the computer centers of the   biggest Italian companies on behalf of a multinational company, IBM. Character inconvenient to the traditional union   as well as the company, is among the organizers of the first virtual strike in the world of Second Life, and it ‘was   awarded by the French Senate as “NetXplorateur of the Year 2008”. His biography tells of a real political and social gamechanger: founder of a node of the italian non­profit network, founder and elected member in the first board of directors of   Agices (Italian General Association of Fair Trade), founder of a local Emergency group (pacifist ngo), founder of two   Gas (ethical purchasing groups) in Milan and Rome, founder and president of a historical nonprofit fairtrade   organization for 10 years. International observer for human rights in Chiapas, Davide participated as representative of the world of associations   to the various editions of the World Social Forum.


Francesca Bria

Francesca Bria is a Nesta Senior Project Lead in the Nesta Innovation Lab. She is the EU Coordinator of the D-CENT project on direct democracy and social digital currencies and the she is the Principle Investigator of the DSI project on digital social innovation in Europe. She has a background in social science and innovation economics and an MSc in E-business and Innovation from the University College of London, Birkbeck.   Francesca is a member of the Internet of Things Council and an advisor for the European Commission on Future Internet and Smart Cities policy. She is also a member of the EC Expert Group on Open Innovation (OISPG) and a member of the European Research Cluster on the Internet of Things (IERC). – See more at:


Stefano Bory

Stefano Bory is a sociologist of cultural processes. Senior Researcher at the University Federico   II of Naples and Associated Researcher at the EHESS of Paris, his work investigates media,   social imaginaries, narratives, emotions and social bonds in contemporary world. His current   works try to reconsider the web as a new category for social bonds, focusing on digital loving   relationships and on new social imaginaries of web­citizenship.


Connective and collective forms of M5S political actions in Italy. Or “how can the Net become institution”?

Considered as the most important populist movement of recent Italian history, the M5S   (Movimento 5 Stelle ­ 5 Stars Movement) is the third and maybe the second most voted political   subject of the country. Raised by a grounded process, assembling a large and heterogeneous ­ but actually critical ­ multitude of people strongly indignant about Italian parties corrupted policies. This wide and queer collective subject defines itself as a “non ideological movement”, with a   “non statute” written on­line by “normal citizens”, devoid of a seat and refusing every kind of   leadership inside. At the beginning, more than ten years ago, the Movement was the expression of extra- parliamentary territorial actions, organised and prepared by small groups formed by related and   well connected local actors. Becoming an institutional political force (with members of   parliament, senators, mayors and European deputies), the M5S faced the need to define   different forms for various structural/organisational improvements: election nominations,   political program writing, national decision­making, and systems of policy control. In such a   context, M5S has always considered the Net as the only solution for defending its wide­open   philosophy of citizen’s participation in institutional policy. However, nor without contradictions.



Sofia de Roa    

Sofía de Roa is a spanish journalist. She studied Political Campaign at Ortega- Marañon Institute, and Digital Citizienship, Culture and Comunication at Madrid’s   Media Lab Prado and Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, to research on how to improve   the democracy at political parties, allowing public scrutiny and participation, by   introducing new forms of internal operation. In particular, she suggests to   implement a Quality Indicators System, a method promoted from Asociación   Calidad y Cultura Democráticas. She participated at 15M Movement and   municipalist proyect Ganemos Madrid. Currently, she works at Podemos, developing   the transparency system. Some publications: “Movimiento 15­M:¡ Cuidado que   viene el ciudadano!.” Más poder local 6 (2011); “Actúa: 12 llamadas a la acción   frente a la crisis económica, política y social”. Debate (2012) ARTAL, Rosa M., et al.

Transparency and Democratic Culture

The talk will discuss the establishment of a democratic “Quality   Indicators System”, ad hoc (Sistema de Indicadores de Calidad democrática, in   spanish). This is a proposal whose body of knowledge has been developed by   Asociación por la Calidad y Cultura Democráticas (Association for Quality and   Democratic Culture, in english), an association born at 2012. This is a method   wich facilitates the identification of aspects that could be improved, to what extent   could be done and according to what timetable for action. We want transparency,   but to use the data not only to check the past or facts from the current moment, if   not to focus on the future, to build new knowlege and to facilitate the analysis to   establish a secure way to plan, step by step, how we are moving forward to   achieve our objectives.         The application of this method, and understanding Democracy as a process, will   force, in practice, the consolidation of a democracy that everyone can play   (identify), touch (materialize), practice (conduct collaboratively) and measure   (evaluate). By committing publicly to fulfilling this agenda of continuous   improvement (and showing the progress through indicators), the party will be   ready to win the trust of their members, their potential voters and citizens in   general. It is a powerful tool for analysis and planning, not to be used daily, but   to take advantage of it as a method and management style, of complex human   organizations, as indeed are the political parties. Understanding Democracy as a   process, not a state of perfection that, once reached, could cause us satisfaction   of a job well done. The ultimate aim is to explore the odds, to multiply the   synergies with all tools already offered, to rebuild trust among representatives   and represented, to make a narrow collaboration between citizenship and political   parties, to keep people involved in politics, to monitor the performance of policy   measures, and finally but not least, to return the prestige and the credibility of   political activity.


Arnau Monterde

Arnau Monterde holds a PhD in Information and Knowledge Society by the Open University of   Catalunya. Since 2011 he is the coordinator of the project Tecnopolitica in the research group   Communication Networks and Social Change at the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (UOC) in   Barcelona. He is part of the research network Datanalysis15M and he investigates the   emergence and evolution of network movements and their relation with institutional changes in   the network society from an interdisciplinary perspective. He is also conducting some research   and projects about digital participation, self­organization, citizen autonomy and common   democratic prototypes.

Transparency, openness and internal democracy in Barcelona en Comu

In the last 5 years we have witnessed a deep transformation of politics in several countries.   Most of them has been driven by citizen movements characterized by a high level of   mobilization and multitudinous participation with a wide social support, an intensive uses of   network technologies and a huge innovation in collective organization and action. In Spain, 5   years later of the explosion of 15M movement, some emergent electoral initiatives have born   and some of them have arrived to the government in many important cities of the country.   These local initiatives have in their principles the transparency, the openness and the internal   democracy. At the same time they have innovate in the way they have created their electoral   lists, program and their funding, being also close to the previous movements in which these   initiatives have based. Their arrival to the government, one year ago, has allowed to translate an   initial main goal as the real democracy is, to specific politics, and many initiatives on this   direction has been developed in Madrid or Barcelona through open digital participation   platforms. The Barcelona experience is an interesting example based on the principles of open   participation, transparency and traceability and its platform has allowed a high level of social   involvement and an integration of online­offline and personal­collective participation. But this   kind of platforms are not isolated initiatives, is part of a network of many cities which has been   sharing practises, free software, strategies and knowledge to improve the democratic   participation and the citizen leadership, being also a great opportunity to go further in the   consolidation of networks for real democracy in a context of deep political changes in Spain.


Francisco Jurado

Francisco Jurado Gilabert is a columnist for and Eldiario, a lawyer, and researcher at   the Institute of Government and Public Policy (IGOP) of the Universidad Autónoma de   Barcelona. He is specialised in the fields of technopolitics, legislative processes and   representation. He is an activist vitally involved in the movements that have characterised the   Spanish body politic since 15 May 2011: Democracia Real Ya, #OpEuribor and Democracia 4.0.   He is author of the book Nueva Gramática Pol’tica (New Political Grammar) (2014) and a   member of the parliamentary group of Podemos in Andaluc’a.



Marco Deseriis

Marco Deseriis is an Assistant Professor of Media and Screen Studies at Northeastern University.   Titled Improper Names: Collective Pseudonyms from the Luddites to Anonymous (University of   Minnesota Press, 2015), Deseriis’ first monograph is a genealogy of experiments in shared   pseudonymity from the early nineteenth century to the age of networks. His current research project,   which is funded by a European Commission Marie Curie Fellowship, explores the question of   scalability of direct democracy through an analysis of the political values embedded in decision- making software such as LiquidFeedback, Loomio, and AdHocracy, and the uses of such software in   technoparties such as Podemos, M5S and the Pirate Parties.Deseriis is also the co­author of Net.Art:   L’Arte della Connessione (Shake, 2008), the first Italian book on Internet Art, and his writings have   appeared in journals such as the Journal of Communication Inquiry, Theory & Event, Radical   History Review, Journal of Critical Communication/Cultural Studies, Mute and Subjectivity. ­


Miguel Ongil

Graduated in Business Administration and a postgraduate degree in European Studies at the ULB in Brussels. Back in Madrid after 12 years of work experience in the UK, Germany and Belgium to set up the finances and transparency area at Podemos. Miguel has worked in many domains from waiter in England, Scotland practices in an online marketing start­up, to an internal consultant job in Germany, developing and implementing a management system for two subsidiary companies in France, Sweden, Finland. With German well learned, he moved to Belgium to study a master’s degree while learning French. In Brussels Miguel worked 41⁄2 years as programme manager in an international organization sponsored by the UNFPA promoting rights and sexual and reproductive health and ensuring political support for development cooperation in 30 European countries. Since 2011 he took part in many actions of the 15­M movente and since 2013 worked as campaign manager and independent researcher, specializing mainly in transparency. In 2013 he was co­author of the book “What do we do with the financing of parties” and in April 2014 appeared before the Constitutional Committee of Congress as an expert on party financing and corruption. From September 2014 Miguel has been working in Podemos, proving every day that it is possible a more transparent, open and shared management of finances. Elected Member of the Parliament of Madrid in May 2015 now intents to bring this transparency to the institutions. Spanish is his mother tongue and speaks fluently English, French and German.

Maria Haberer

A Framework to Analyse Net Parties

Faced with the methodological challenge of how to investigate what we call “net parties” (horizontally organized parties that aim for direct input of citizens in policy-making using digital tools), we developed an analytical framework for assessing the structural conditions for deliberation compiled along dimensions based on the literature on deliberative democracy. Our framework consists of the following dimensions: Structure and Functionality, Accessibility and Transparency, Hybridity and Coordination, and Outcome and Accountability. This scheme can serve as a guide as well as a monitoring device for evaluating the actual practice – offline and online – of parties that claim to engage in citizen deliberation.


Cyberparty conference programme



Download the Programme in PDF: Cyberparty_programme


Edmund Safra Theatre


Location: Strand Campus. Closest Tube: Temple/Holborn

Web: Twitter: @DigiCultureKCL / #CyberParty



REGISTRATION AND COFFEE – 9:00-9:45 – River Room



The return of the party in digital times

9:45-11:20 – Edmund Safra Theatre


Birgitta Jonsdottir (Pirate Party)


Andrew Chadwick (Royal Holloway)


Bernardo Gutierrez (activist and journalist)


Moderated by Paolo Gerbaudo (King’s College London)

Panel 1 – Digital Demands: Policies and Cleavages

Safra Lecture Theatre


Cristian Vaccari (Royal Holloway)

Maria Haberer (Universidad Obierta de Catalunya)

Alex Williams (City University)


Richard Barbrook (Uni of Westminster)


Moderated by Gordon Ramsay (Policy Institute, King’s College London)


Panel 2 – Digital Organisation: From Movements to Parties

Nash Lecture TheatreBernardo Gutierrez (activist and journalist)Marco Deseriis (Northeastern University)Aaron Bastani (Novara Media)Sofia de Roa (Podemos)

Moderated by Emmy Ekhlund (King’s College London)





LUNCH – 13:00 – 14:00

BREAKOUT SESSIONS II – 14:00 – 15:45
Panel 3 – Digital Democracy: Platforms and Processes

Safra Lecture Theatre


Francisco Jurado (15M/Podemos)


Francesca Bria (D-cent project, Nesta)


Davide Barillari (5 Star Movement)


Arnau Monterde (Open University of Catalunya – UOC)


Moderated by Paolo Gerbaudo (King’s College London)


Panel 4 – Digital Participation: Ecologies and Practices

Nash Lecture Theatre

Stefano Bory (Federico II di Napoli, IRIS-EHESS)Miguel Ongil (Podemos)

Simon Thorpe (Take Back the City)

Alex Clarkson (King’s College London)

Samuele Greene (King’s College London)

Moderated by Photini Vrikki (King’s College London)







CLOSING PLENARY – 17:00-18:40

Between crowds and Parties: Digital Communism or Techno-Populism?

Safra Lecture Theatre


Jodi Dean (Hobart and William Smith Colleges)


In conversation with


Paolo Gerbaudo (King’s College London)


Marco Deseriis (Northeastern University)


Emmy Ekhlund (King’s College London)


Moderated by Aaron Bastani (Novara Media)



WINE RECEPTION – 18:45-19:30 – River Room







Opening plenary: The return of the party in digital times

Is the political party making a digital comeback? How are digital parties from the Pirate Party, to Podemos and the 5 Star Movement different from industrial parties? How do they reflect the digital communication ecology and the changing forms of social experience in a digital society?

Birgitta Jonsdottir (Pirate Party), Andrew Chadwick (Royal Holloway), Bernardo Gutierrez (activist and journalist)

Moderated by Paolo Gerbaudo (King’s College London)


Panel 1: Digital Demands: Policies and Cleavages

Digital parties raise new demands about a number of new issues that reflect the new conflicts and forms of life and social experience of a digital society as seen in demands for Internet freedom, privacy, transparency, for basic income and for freedom to be put at the service of collective good. The panel will explore to what extent these emering demands prefigure a new digital cleavage beyond the industrial cleavage that separated socialist and conversative parties.

Cristian Vaccari (Royal Holloway), Maria Haberer (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya), Alex Williams (City University), Richard Barbrook (Uni of Westminster)

Moderated by Gordon Ramsay (Policy Institute, King’s College London)


Panel 2: Digital Organisation: From Movements to Parties

Digital parties introduce several innovations in forms of organisation, many of which are strongly informed by the doings of recent protest movement, their use of digital media and their participatory ethos. This panel will discuss the relationship between movements and parties and the new organisational models that emerge at their crossroads, debating the nature of emerging forms of leadership and coordination, of verticality and horizontality.

Bernardo Gutierrez (activist and journalist), Marco Deseriis (Northeastern University), Aaron Bastani (Novara Media), Sofia de Roa (Podemos)

Moderated by Emmy Ekhlund (King’s College London)



Panel 3: Digital Democracy: Platforms and Processes

Digital parties are well known for their pursuit of the idea of direct democracy and for their use of various online decision-making platforms to discuss and vote on policies and candidates. These practices prefigure a return in a digital form to mass participation in poltitical decisions. But to what extent are these plaftorms and processes truly democratic? And when will they enter the political mainstream?

Francisco Jurado (15M/Podemos), Francesca Bria (D-cent project, Nesta) Davide Barillari (5 Star Movement), Arnau Monterde (Open University of Catalunya – UOC)

Moderated by Paolo Gerbaudo (King’s College London)


Panel 4: Digital Participation: Ecologies and Practices

The diffusion of digital media has profoundly reshaped the experience of political participation and the very space in which people come together to take part in political processes. This has not meant a doing away of face-to-face interactions, but rather a complex intertwining of the online and offline. This panel will look at the changing environment of political participation by looking at the practices of internal participation of various emerging movements and parties from Spain and Eastern Europe. It will ask how the meaning of participation and party participation is changing in a digital world.

Stefano Bory (Federico II di Napoli, IRIS-EHESS), Miguel Ongil (Podemos), Simon Thorpe (Take Back the City), Alex Clarkson (King’s College London), Samuele Greene (King’s College London)


Moderated by Photini Vrikki (King’s College London)



Closing Plenary: Between crowds and Parties: Digital Communism or Techno-Populism?


What kind of politics should digital parties pursue? Is communism, anarchism, or leftwing populism the most credible direction for an emancipatory politics in a digital age? And how do these different ideologies and political imaginaries configure different political directions to deal with the new conflicts that are emerging in a digital society?


Jodi Dean (Hobart and William Smith Colleges) in conversation with Paolo Gerbaudo (King’s College London), Marco Deseriis (Northeastern University), Emmy Ekhlund (King’s College London)


Moderated by Aaron Bastani (Novara Media)





Event organised by the Centre for Digital Culture. Supported by the Policy Institute, the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and the Department of Digital Humanities




Cyberparty Conference Announcement!


May 13th 2016 – King’s College London, Strand Campus

Register for the conference

In recent years – and in particular since the explosion of the financial crisis of 2008 – we have witnessed the rise of an array of new political parties – sometimes described as ‘digital parties’, ‘internet parties’ or ‘network parties’ – that attempt to utilise digital communication technologies as means to construct new forms of political participation and organisation against a background of widespread political disaffection with mainstream politics.

From the 5 Star Movement in Italy, to Podemos in Spain, and the Pirate Party in Iceland, Sweden and Germany, to the municipalist formations that recently won the mayoralties of Barcelona and Madrid, the signs of this surprising revival of the political party in digital times are growing. These new political organisations that are entering the political arena in a number of countries in Europe and beyond make use of the tools and practices that typify the present digital era, from Twitter channels and Facebook pages to Whatsapp groups and decision-making platforms. Furthermore, they embody the new demands that reflect the ways of life, fears and desires of an era of mass digital connectivity: demands for free information, privacy, connectivity and basic income.

What is the meaning and what the implications of these emerging digital parties? How do they reflect and respond to the current phase of economic and political crisis? What are the new issues and policies they bring to the fore? What are their forms of organisation, participation and leadership?

The Cyberparty conference hosted by the newly formed Centre for Digital Culture at King’s College London will explore these issues by bringing together experts and activists from the forefront of political innovation. It will ask what is specific to the emerging ‘digital party-form’ underpinning these formaions, how it compares with the mass parties of the industrial era and the electoral-professional parties of the neoliberal era and to what extent it can become a vehicle for social and political change. Furthermore, it will inquire in which ways more traditional political phenomena such as the Labour party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders’ campaign in the US are trying to adopt some of the emerging organisational structures and practices coming from digital parties.

Different aspects of digital parties will be examined: their organisational structures and cultures; their policies offer and social support base; their decision-making platforms; with dedicated panels on these issues. The conference will also host a special panel on digital activism in Eastern Europe.

The conference will also host a special panel on digital activism in Eastern Europe.

Confirmed speakers include

Birgitta Jonsdottir (Pirate Party), Davide Barillari (5 Star Movement), Bernardo Gutierrez (journalist and activist), Arnau Monterde (Universidad Oberta de Catalunya), Francesca Bria (Nesta), Jodi Dean (Hobart and William Smith Colleges), Andrew Chadwick (Royal Holloway), Sofia de Roa (Podemos), Miguel Ongil Lopez (Podemos), Richard Barbrook (Westminster), Emmy Eklundh (King’s), Emiliano Trere (Autonomous University of Queretaro), Marco Deseris (Northeastern University), Yurash Sviatoslav (Euromaydan), Samuel Greene (Director, Russia Institute, King’s College London), Cristian Vaccari (Royal Holloway), Aaron Bastani (Novara Media), Paolo Gerbaudo (King’s), Francisco Jurado (15M/Podemos), Alex Williams (City University), and Alex Clarkson (King’s).


Organised by the Centre for Digital Culture


With support from the Policy Institute, the Department of Digital Humanities and the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at King’s College London


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We hope you can make it!

Centre for Digital Culture


Launch Event of the Centre for Digital Culture at King’s College London

The Great Transformation: digital technology and social change – Launch Event of the Centre for Digital Culture at King’s College London
March 9th – 7pm – Safra Lecture Theatre – King’s College London

At the time of the Internet, smartphones and social media there seems to be virtually no aspect of society unaffected by the diffusion of digital technology. From the private to the public, from personal relationships to the economy and political movements we are witnessing a great transformation in the forms of social interaction and organisation whose magnitude can be compared to the one introduced by the the industrial revolution and the rise of capitalism. But what do the different changes brought by digital technology actually share in common? What is the overarching logic guiding the digital transformation of society? And is it changing society for better or worse? We will discuss these issues with a number of leading scholars in the field of digital culture

Tim Jordan is Professor and Head of School of Media, Film and Music at Sussex University. He is the author of a number of influential books including Cyberpower: The Culture and Politics of Cyberspace and the Internet (1999), Activism!: direct action, hacktivism and the future of society (2002), and Information Politics (2015).

Joanna Zylinska is a writer, lecturer, artist and curator, working in the areas of new technologies and new media, ethics, photography and art. She is Professor of New Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is the author of a number of influential books including Life after New Media (2012/ with Sarah Kember) and The Cyborg Experiments (2002).

Mark Coté is a leading researcher in the social, cultural, political and economic dimensions of big data. He has received numerous research grants from the AHRC and EU-Horizon 2020 as both PI and CI, partnering with the Open Data Institute, British Library, Aarhus University, the University of Pisa and many others. His work has been published widely across leading journals including Big Data & Society.

Mercedes Bunz is a German art historian, philosopher and journalist. She has worked as the technology correspondent for the Guardian and is currently senior lecturer journalism and digital media, University of Westminster and has been involved in digital publishing and open access project. She is the author of The Silent Revolution: How Digitalization Transforms Knowledge, Work, Journalism and Politics without Making Too Much Noise (2014).

Centre for Digital Culture Announcement

We are very pleased to announce the establishment of the Centre for Digital Culture. The Centre for digital culture is an interdisciplinary research centre exploring digital culture – understood as the array of cultural practices and communities manifested in the use of digital communication technologies (Internet, social media, smartphones, wearable devices etc.) constitutes a central object of discussion in contemporary society. From the role of social networks as Facebook and Twitter in reshaping personal relationships, to the use of digital media by political parties, movements and terrorist groups and public concern about vanishing privacy at the time of Big Data, digital culture issues constantly make news headlines and generate new hopes and fears in the public. The Centre will allow researchers interested in digital culture to engage in common debates about the nature and dynamics of the emerging digital society, and about the different ‘digital methods’ available to study new social and cultural phenomena emerging in a digital society.