New Communication Technologies, Virtuality and Deterritorialised Public Spheres : How Delocalisation Affects National Identities. a Review of the Methodological Nationalism through an Analysis of the Global Political Participation
In a global context where socio-political structures are increasingly transnationalised, the national perspective seems more and more inadequate. From Max Weber to Jürgen Habermas, concepts such as identity, citizenship and their deep relationship to nation-state and national territory remained close to a sort of inflexible ‘‘iron wire cage’’, unable to clearly qualify multiple identifications related to symbolic socio-political and cultural links supported by virtuality. Virtuality as a concept is therefore used here to define a body of moral, political, cultural and economic ties supported by values, feelings, emotions and individual interests, and enhancing distant socio-political and cultural actions within a transnational social space, which will give a sort of visibility to a global political participation. Considered from a social and cultural construction of space’s perspective, virtuality and propounded deterritorialised public spheres challenge the methodological nationalism approach of identity and public sphere.
However, if it is clear that methodological nationalism has largely influenced research on citizenship and political participation as proven by the parallels between nationalist theorists and their conceptualisation of citizenship and identity, a shift towards virtuality or virtual public spheres should be new objects of observation as they not only consider the importance of new communication technologies and their impact to the perception of space and time, but also, allow the association of the ‘‘inside’’ and ‘‘outside’’ as well as a bridge where there existed ‘‘dichotomy’’ and ‘‘exclusive’’ analysis of political participation.
The aim of our proposal will therefore consist in demonstrating how far, and concretely how, is a conceptual and methodological upgrade necessary. Its starting point will be a previous empirical study we realised a few years ago (2006-2010).