What are the politics of digital technologies? Are digital media connected to the recent popularity of populist formations throughout the world? In this paper I argue that we should approach these issues by examining how discourses can shape technology and how different political actors envision technology in a political way. In particular, I offer the notion of technological imaginary to account for the ways in which collective actors construct discourses about the political role of technology. I then identify a dominant technological imaginary, which arises from Silicon Valley. This imaginary is built on a blend of technocratic ambitions and populist justifications, which I illustrate through an analysis of a document released by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg in 2017. I then suggest that to assess the success of populist forces in appropriating digital technologies, we first need to examine how populist discourses have been deployed to legitimate digital technologies.
"Technocracy Meets Populism: The Dominant Technological Imaginary of Silicon Valley." Communication, Culture & Critique, 2020.