Radicalization by Design
Featuring: Dimitri Tokmetzis, Richard Rogers, Bharat Ganesh and Florian Cramer
Are our media radicalizing us? In the past half decade the question has increasingly come to preoccupy both popular and scholarly debate. Social media are often conceptualized as full of “rabbit holes” leading to deeper and often more dangerous parts of the web that traffic in “radical ideas” often under the aegis of
“free speech”. While the metaphor of a radicalization rabbit hole is common amongst critics and “alternative influencers” alike, perspectives diverge when it comes to who or what is responsible for the radicalizing.
Typically the left pinpoints structural features built into the environment, while the right points to the individual’s choice to “take the red pill”in order to see “how deep the rabbit hole goes”- an idiom popular amongst those on the so-called “alt-right”. Yet, positing an a-priori division between the macro-structural on the one hand and micro-psychological on the other does not necessarily comport with the complex empirical reality of contemporary social media in which ideas spread like viruses or “memes”. At the same time however, the theory of the meme so widely used within both popular and scholarly writing on new media, is arguably inadequate for describing how the material affordances of media shape human agency.
The web project Radicalization by Design convenes a cross-disciplinary and public facing dialogue at the intersection of new media and extremism studies to discuss these questions and to cast light on these darker regions of the Web. Radicalization by Design is part of “The Grand Narrative”Enter the Rabbit Hole