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Online order in the age of many publics

Author: Kettemann, M. C., & Tiedeke, A. S.
Published in: Kybernetes, 50(4), 1004-1014
Year: 2021
Type: Academic articles
DOI: 10.1108/K-07-2020-0423

Abstract Purpose In online digital spaces, the public/private distinction is challenged in many different ways. The purpose of this paper is to show that the normative order of the internet is a suitable lens through which the complex relationship of private and public norms and their impact on communication spheres and today’s and tomorrow’s dynamic public can be understood. Design/methodology/approach Habermas’ conception of the public sphere provides us with the ideal starting point for our normative analysis of German court cases concerning the application of public law in privately-owned online communication spaces. The normative analysis allows us to pose an important theoretical question regarding the necessity and circumstances of a codification of a (private) online order. Findings This research paper shows that a reconsideration of the Kantian theory enables the transcendental constitution of normativity – and of new publics, is necessary because normativity that learns from its environment can no longer be described by referring to traditional categories of, and criteria for, subjectivity. The research paper shows that the normative order of the internet is based on and produces a liquefied system characterized by self-learning normativity. Originality/value This paper offers a unique perspective on the norm building process in privately-owned online communication spaces and poses an important theoretical question that helps to better understand the emerging normative orders, the shift in our view on “publics” and offers a useful analytical tool for a better explain, predict and legitimize the creation of new order-internal norms.

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Connected HIIG researchers

Anna Sophia Tiedeke

Assoziierte Forscherin: Völkerrecht des Netzes

Matthias C. Kettemann

Assoziierter Forscher, Forschungsprogrammleiter


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