Digital Communication, New Media and Progressive Cultural Politics: Prospects for the European Union
My PhD project intends to analyze the impact of digital communication and new media on EU’s cultural policy. The aim of my study is on the one hand to apply an extended version of critical theory to construct a theoretical model that is capable of serving as a tool to form and develop modern cultural policy; and on the other hand to use this model on my empirical research, which will outline a possible future cultural policy of the European Union. Recent developments within digital communi cation and new media have altered the cultural landscape, and the model I intend to construct will react to these changes and propose a possible solution to some challenges that the digitalization of culture has caused. Amongst those challenges is the notion of remixable culture, where new means of digital intervention, participation and distribution have opened up new possibilities and challenges to the field of cultural policy. The culture-political model will especially focus its attention on the notion of digital cultural public spheres, and the future role they can have on EU's cultural policy.
The theoretical model is made up of what I refer to as a Networked Theory of Communicative Action, where Jürgen Habermas' societal dis tinction between system and life world, with their intermediating public spheres, serves as a foundation. In addition to Habermas' writings, Manuel Castells' notion of the global network of new media, and Lev Manovich's account of culture of remixability, will add a networked, cross-cultural perspective to the theory, as well as to demonstrate the possible culture-political role of digital cultural public spheres.
In order to exemplify the changes digital communication and new media have on cultural policy, I will analyze net-artworks, the Super-channel project of the Danish art group Superflex, and the BBC’s Crea tive Archive project. These three examples are good indicators on how digital communication and new media are capable of forming legal digi tal cultural public spheres. These public spheres are readily available for the general public, thereby fulfilling EU’s objectives of enhancing cultural creativity, diversity, and participation.