Publications

Prefigurative Post-Politics as Strategy: The Case of Government-Led Blockchain Projects

Hussain, Syed Omer; Roep, D.; Franklin, Alex

Summary

Critically engaging with literature on post-politics, blockchain and algorithmic governance, and drawing also on knowledge gained from undertaking a three-year empirical study, the purpose of this article is to better understand the transformative capacity of government-led blockchain projects. Analysis of a diversity of empirical material, which was guided by a digital ethnography approach, is used to support the furthering of the existing debate on the nature of the post-political as a condition and/or strategy. Through these theoretical and empirical explorations, the article concludes that while the post-political represents a contingent political strategy by governmental actors, it could potentially impose an algorithmically enforced post-political ‘condition’ for the citizen. It is argued that the design, features and mechanisms of government-led projects are deliberately and strategically used to delimit a citizens’ political agency. In order to address this scenario, we argue that there is a need not only to analyse and contribute to the algorithmic design of blockchain projects (i.e. the affordances and constraints they set), but also to the metapolitical narrative underpinning them (i.e. the political imaginaries underlying the various government-led projects).