Made-to-Measure Future(s) for Democracy?. Zabalo, J., Filibi, I., Escajedo San-Epifanio, L (Eds). pp 97-117.
COVID-19 has hit citizens dramatically during 2020, not only creating a general risk-driven environment encompassing a wide array of economic vulnerabilities but also exposing them to pervasive digital risks, such as biosurveillance, misinformation, and e-democracy algorithmic threats. Over the course of the pandemic, a debate has emerged about the appropriate democratic and technopolitical response when governments use disease surveillance technologies to tackle the spread of COVID-19, pointing out the dichotomy between state-Leviathan cybercontrol and civil liberties. The COVID-19 pandemic has inevitably raised the need to resiliently and technopolitically respond to democratic threats that hyperconnected and highly virialised societies produce. In order to shed light on this debate, amidst this volume on “democratic deepening”, this chapter introduces the new term “postpandemic technopolitical democracy” as a way to figure out emerging forms and scales for developing democracy and citizen participation in hyperconnected and highly virialised postpandemic societies. Insofar as the digital layer cannot be detached from the current democratic challenges of the twenty-first century including neoliberalism, scales, civic engagement, and action research-driven co-production methodologies; this chapter suggests a democratic toolbox encompassing four intertwined factors including (i) the context characterised by the algorithmic nations, (ii) challenges stemming from data sovereignty, (iii) mobilisation seen from the digital rights perspective, and (iv) grassroots innovation embodied through data cooperatives. This chapter elucidates that in the absence of coordinated and interdependent strategies to claim digital rights and data sovereignty by algorithmic nations, on the one hand, big tech data-opolies and, on the other hand, the GDPR led by the European Commission might bound (negatively) and expand (positively) respectively, algorithmic nations’ capacity to mitigate the negative side effects of the algorithmic disruption in Western democracies.