Digitally mediated publics: The case of the Copenhagen ‘payment ring’ controversy: Abstract for the First Nordic STS Conference, Trondheim 24-26 April 2013

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review

28 Downloads (Pure)


The aim of this paper is to discuss the concept of digitally mediated publics and outline a research strategy for investigating such publics, drawing on the Copenhagen road pricing controversy as a useful empirical case. The discussion takes Marres’ (2005) concept of issue publics as its vantage point. The main argument here is that rather than being contained in – or displaced from – a single institutional framework, political democracy is ‘occasioned’ when people become pragmatically engaged in issues that require the intervention of publics. One consequence of such a conceptualization is that publics always need to organize themselves. My particular interest is how media technologies, here primarily so-called social media, mediate such organizing of issue publics. Following the ”one level standpoint (1-LS)” hypothesis of Latour and colleagues (2012), pages on social media tend to collapse the distinction between element and aggregate. This is an interesting hypothesis not only for a revision of social theory in the direction of Gabriel Tarde, but also in relation to the notion of publics, in so far as participating in a public is about appreciating the complex associations between individual situations and the indirect consequences of other people’s actions (Dewey 1927). A potentially fruitful question to ask, then, is how social media, such as Facebook, mediate links between element and aggregate, and thus affords the organization of digital issue publics in new ways. Here might be a vantage point for investigating how several groupings employed digital tools for imagining the plans for a Copenhagen ‘payment ring’ as a public issue in diverse ways.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2013
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventNordic STS - Trondheim, Norway
Duration: 24 Apr 201326 Apr 2013


ConferenceNordic STS

Cite this