Käte Hamburger Dialogue

Past the Silicon Valley: Towards a European Digital Public Sphere

Essen - 20 October 2017

The recurrent complaint about the lack of a European ‘demos’ misses an important point. Democracy never existed in an unmediated space, the demos is always shaped by the spaces and instruments through which assemblies can be summoned. In Europe’s intellectual history, physical places as well as communication spaces like journals and magazines have played a pivotal role in shaping a particular form of critical modernity. But what about the new virtual infrastructures? What kind of ‘digital public sphere’ is emerging here, and what role could or should ‘Europe’ play in this regard? Silicon Valley has a clear vision of what the digital future should look like. Does Europe have the force to imagine convincing alternatives? The 9th Käte Hamburger Dialogue had the aim to find answers on these questions.

The questions have been addressed by the two speakers Emmanuel Alloa, Research Leader at the School for Humanities and Social Sciences, University of St. Gallen, and Jean-Baptiste Soufron, IT lawyer and partner at FWPA Avocats, Paris, and former General Secretary of the French Digital Council (CNNum). Constanze Kurz, Spokesperson of the Chaos Computer Club (CCC), Berlin and Dirk Messner, Co-director of the Centre for Global Cooperation Research and Director of the German Development Institute, discussed their contributions. The event was moderated by Prof. Dr Claus Leggewie, Ludwig Börne Chair at the University of Gießen.

The 9th Käte Hamburger Dialogue was part of 'Praxis Europa', a three-day-networking event on the future of Europe, organized by the Centre for Global Cooperation Research and the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI), and hosted by Ruhr Museum and PACT Zollverein at the Zollverein World Heritage Site.

Time: 19:30–21:00 h
Venue: Zollverein World Heritage Site, Hall 2, Gelsenkirchener Str. 181, Essen