Prefigurative Post-Politics as Strategy: The Case of Government-Led Blockchain Projects

Syed Omer Husain, Dirk Roep, Alex Franklin

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Abstract

Critically engaging with literature on post-politics, blockchain and algorithmic governance, and drawing also on knowledge gained from undertaking a three-year empirical study, the purpose of this article is to better understand the transformative capacity of government-led blockchain projects. Analysis of a diversity of empirical material, which was guided by a digital ethnography approach, is used to support the furthering of the existing debate on the nature of the post-political as a condition and/or strategy. Through these theoretical and empirical explorations, the article concludes that while the post-political represents a contingent political strategy by governmental actors, it could potentially impose an algorithmically enforced post-political ‘condition’ for the citizen. It is argued that the design, features and mechanisms of government-led projects are deliberately and strategically used to delimit a citizens’ political agency. In order to address this scenario, we argue that there is a need not only to analyse and contribute to the algorithmic design of blockchain projects (i.e. the affordances and constraints they set), but also to the metapolitical narrative underpinning them (i.e. the political imaginaries underlying the various government-led projects).
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalThe Journal of the British Blockchain Association (JBBA)
Volume3
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Published Open Access under the CC-BY 4.0 Licence

Keywords

  • blockchain
  • post-political
  • decentralization
  • e-government
  • technopolitics
  • prefigurative politics
  • digital ethnography
  • civic tech

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