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  • Conclusion: A Turning Point for Liberal Democracy

    Jeremiah Morelock, Felipe Ziotti Narita

    Chapter from the book: Morelock J. & Narita F. 2021. The Society of the Selfie: Social Media and the Crisis of Liberal Democracy.


    Digital networks have unified contemporary geoculture around market expansion and the spectacle. The society of the selfie, as a sociotechnical complex that has emerged from the capitalist transformations since the 1980s, is the quintessence of a new structure for human relatedness. The introduction of new communication technologies always works in two directions at once—we become more connected in some ways, more alienated in others. The story of Web 2.0 and the discontents of the society of the selfie are, in this sense, a different genre of the same basic tendency. The society of the selfie is not the cause of this widespread immiseration, but it is historically inseparable from it, and in some significant ways contributes to the social changes and dislocations that authoritarian movements react against with their militant retrotopic visions. Yet the desire for progressive change to a more inclusive, egalitarian form of society is influenced by the same dislocations and crises that impact the authoritarians, in this case the cosmopolitans and anti-capitalists reacting not just against economic deprivation but also against a competitive, reified social world that has imposed rigid norms about work, strength, and individualism, while depriving them of belonging, cooperation, and ‘the good life’. If the society of the selfie favours threats that reify contemporary sociality and warp communication dynamics, it also feeds mechanisms of engagement and the production of new social ties, as well as new expectations for participation and empowerment in society.

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    Morelock J. & Narita F. 2021. Conclusion: A Turning Point for Liberal Democracy. In: Morelock J. & Narita F, The Society of the Selfie. London: University of Westminster Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16997/book59.g

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    Published on Dec. 14, 2021