(Ruhr-University Bochum)

“Network Complicity: Collectives, Hate Speech and Social Media”

Forms of complicity are inherent in social media as forms of collective ‘enfoldings’: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or blogs offer the best preconditions to form close connections, to exercise influence aggressively and to break moral and legal norms. Rupert Gaderer’s interest in complicity lies in a media-scientific examination of the politics of humiliation in social networks. Gaderer’s own objective is to examine these types of communication as processes of forming collectives, in which a high prevalence of complicities can be observed. This is related to the networking possibilities of social media, since these media facilitate complicity and an ‘enfolding’ of perpetrator and victim. Network dispositifs create socio-technical structures that enfold its users, forming spaces of complicity. At the same time, social formations become visible in their ambivalence: forms of recognition, inclusion and benevolence are transformed more quickly into forms of humiliation, exclusion and resentment. Unlike in other media formats, these forms are brought to a social limit. The aim of Gaderer’s research is to investigate complicity in current media and cultural theories as an interaction between people, cultural techniques and the media of digital living environments.