Political Ideas Discourse In Network Society: Socio-Philosophical Analysis


The article discusses the discourse of political ideas in the context of a network society. In the communicative space of this type of society, the author conducts a conceptual and methodological synthesis of various approaches. The explication of the existing ideas about the network society is carried out and its properties are given. It is argued that the basis for a qualitatively new discourse of political ideas should be sought the nature of the technical re-equipment of the social fabric. We consider alternative ways that have changed the person himself and led to his positioning as an ultra-mobile individual. It is shown that the new discursive nature of ideas is much more noticeable at the levels of the political sphere. The microlevel is associated with single actors, identity issues and private dramas. At the macrolevel, there is a pluralism of aspirations of power subjects, sometimes reaching up to setting and solving global goals and objectives. It is proved that political ideas carry out a synthesis of irrational strategies and well-laid out plans and programs. Modern transformations of political paradigms and realities occur in accordance with the discursive model of “political thinking - language form - political action”. In a network society, power is based on the control of the information field, and consequently, on the manipulation of consciousness. This is justified by the fact that in a networked society, politics is a semantic and semantic reproduction activity, aimed at forming, maintaining and changing relations of domination and subordination.

Keywords: Politicsnetworks societypolitical ideasdiscourse


Within the framework of modern philosophy, a number of problems appear that can be considered relevant for the turn of the XX–XXI centuries. The importance of studying philosophical ideas in all their plural expressions, as well as their modifications, is not questioned, making up the subject not only of metaphilosophy, but also of today's social philosophy. This is reasoned by the fact that philosophical ideas are one of the significant factors implemented in social reality, especially in the political sphere, therefore their practical application is fundamentally not only for theoretical, but, logically, and for applied research, which essentially determine modern world outlook.

Problem Statement

Politics is one of the most archaic spheres of human activity. The relationship between politics and ideas reveals the problem that no political regime can exist without communication, which means that the state and politics itself as its institution. Information management in the modern world is an essential factor in winning and holding power. Ideas can be viewed as a means of planning collective behaviour and politics as an activity requiring such behaviour. With this understanding, political action is identical to linguistic action. The embodiment of ideas creates institutions: for example, the constitutionally guaranteed realization of political rights and freedoms.

Research Questions

Why do people believe the ideas of some subjects of politics, but do not share the views of other leaders? The answer to this question lies in the peculiarities of the reception of ideas that occupy the political space of each state. We consider the fact that the emergence, development and transformation of ideas implies the need for their pragmatics for everyday life. According to the adherence to this position, political ideas are significant not for individual people producing them (ideologues, intellectuals, politicians, propagandists), but for the whole society. This is relevant due to the increasing complexity of modern society and the increasing degree of uncertainty and riskiness, as well as the inability to make clear forecasts of state and planetary development in the short and medium term. We believe that the modern world produces more significant gaps between real life and power initiatives, which determined even a certain axiocrisis of the political sphere, resulting in the so-called “escape for political senselessness”. Thus, the study of the discourse of political ideas within the framework of social philosophy makes it possible to determine not only the trajectories of the development of a specific state, but, in the context of globalization, to outline ways to solve problems of a planetary scale.

Purpose of the Study

Our earlier analysis of the essence of actor-network theory and its implementation in society allows us to proceed from a number of provisions regarding the processes taking place today. One of them is the concept of Collins (1974) about the origin of intellectual ideas arising, existing and transforming in society: ideas are the result of a certain social determinism in the form of clearly defined schemes. Then these constructions are used by intellectuals in the production of ideas tied to a specific sphere of society and the formation of a new world outlook apparatus. The other side of the understanding of the Collins (1974) theory is that any historical epoch is relevant and can determine the ideas of a particular intellectual. Unlike most researchers, who assumed the limited existence of ideas that arise and develop only thanks to the contribution of two to three generations of scientists, for Collins (1974), the actualization and retention of many diverse intellectual determinations of ideological constructs are obvious. In addition, according to Collins (1974), the origin and formation of ideas is determined by the unity of internal and external factors. On the one hand, the inclusion of a specific intellectual with all of his potential into the system of intersubjective connections is achieved, which allows one to speak about the possibility of the inclusion of his intellectual capabilities for the production of ideas into a single system. Another aspect is concentrated in the plane of social institutions, as organizations interested in the development of certain individuals, allowing the latter to integrate not only into the professional environment, but also into the system of social relations, preserving themselves completely and receiving support from interested organizations. At the junction of the four elements, it becomes possible to state that an idea as an intellectual construct acquires the potential of its origin, development, subsequent application in practice and experiencing transformations that create new versions of ideas in the meaning of "modification". Another thesis is that intellectual history in the framework of the actor-network theory is understood as a process defined by two complementary aspects. Firstly, researchers, creating new ideas, have a noticeable impact on social development. This statement is true, since the ideological determination of social processes naturally reflects the development of society and, as a result, illustrates the embodiment of intellectual history. Secondly, the very understanding of the essence of objects used in society is not as objects experiencing a constant impact from the subjects, but as actors, equally and equally involved in shaping the social fabric and intellectual history, in turn influences researchers, generate new ideas. According to these provisions, in the present work we formulate the goal of the research as a conceptual understanding of the discourse of ideas and political practices in the reading of modern society as “network”. The concept of “network society” can also be defined as “informational” (Castells, 1977), because almost the same basic principles of the ideological discourse are realized here. For example, research leads to the formation of new, more and more advanced technical means, penetrating into the social fabric, ensuring its development. The same applies to actors who are equally involved in shaping reality, whether they have already been created technical means or the social actors themselves.

Research Methods

The methodological basis of the study consists of methods of philosophical synthesis, as well as dialectical, comparative and pragmatic methods.


I would like to begin the presentation of the obtained results from the reduction of the position of Czarniawska (2017) about the substantive identity of the information and network social system, where the elements that determine its existence have no priority. She claims that the network is a system (integer) of connections between nodes (elements). Moreover, in networks, the smallest number of links is three, and the smallest number of links is two (Czarniawska, 2017). Relationships are the result of a single connection between the two links. In the network approach, individuals form nodes, and society is represented as a complex system. It follows that even the system of relations does not define the essence of all social artifacts created and existing in a network society. This also applies to the person of the network society, which is included in it and also becomes an artifact, like a new computer model. The essence of the artifact included in the system is formed under the influence of the surrounding information environment and a multitude of actors as “nodes of the system” (Diaz, 2009). The latter elements become important because they support the stability of the system: “Things ... cannot be ignored when studying social processes, since their characteristics largely determine the very possibility of intersubjective interaction and the conditions for its implementation” (Anikin, 2018, p. 129). So, reading actor-network theory looks like something in between the concepts of elements and relationships. We see its advantage through the opportunity to combine the designated concepts and to reveal the significance of not only a separate subject of the social process and the whole system of relations in which there is a social actor.

Defining the essence of the network society, we give the following properties:

- Computer literacy serves as a criterion of the viability of individuals;

- The basis of social inequality is based on differentiation in terms of access to modern technologies, in effect excluding groups of individuals from the system of social relations;

- The crisis and transformational nature of the axiological bases of social existence under the influence of the processes of informatization and globalization (Mendonça, Crespo, & Simões, 2015).

As a determining factor for its genesis and development, the network society assumes technical re-equipment of the social fabric. There is no doubt that such short-term and radical changes entail difficulties associated with the transformation of the balance between public and private, which the individual regards as private and inviolable to the public. The network society itself carries out a rapid transition from private to public (Busch, 2015). Regarding this clarification in the article, Anikin (2018) notes that a separate individual “loses his private space, acquiring in exchange excessive publicity and becoming the point of intersection of the most unexpected identities” (p. 130). The results for each individual are the arising difficulties of self-identification and of their own world, with which he already remains tête-à-tête. Analyzing the model of the development of society as a result of three revolutions (Bell, 1973), Toffler (1984) deduces the transformation of the means of influence. Strength as the basis of wealth in pre-industrial society is replaced by the finances of industrial society, which subsequently give way to knowledge in the network community. Accordingly, the person himself changes significantly. Exploring statistics, Toffler concludes that in modern society, the concepts of “modular family” and “modular man” arise. Over the past 500 years since the invention of the printing press, the volume of printed products has grown hundreds of times. How is it possible to cope with such a challenge? There is a super mobile person, a person with removable "details." This is a response to the actual call of glut information. Future shock is a stressful situation of the psychophysical overload of the human body, its adaptive system and those mechanisms that are responsible for making decisions (Toffler, 1971). Future shock requires the ability to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances and a huge amount of information.

Bauman (2000) notes that the individualization of an individual consists in the transformations of identity (from “given” to “find”) and the subsequent assignment of responsibility for the effectiveness of these processes to specific individuals. Thus, in the modern permanently complicated society, “identity” acquires the outlines of a “consumer product” as one of the neoforms of being. Hence the emergence of the originality of the postculture, the markers of which are “doubt” and “insecurity”, based on the opposition “presence-lack of knowledge”. First of all, it is necessary to say that the new acquiring status, based on knowledge, contributes to the fullest possible “self-disclosure” of the individual. On this occasion, we agree with Erokhin (2018), who believes that

self-consciousness becomes the basis for the formation of a unique separatism, free from all kinds of obstacles characteristic of pre-industrial and industrial societies. On the one hand, the process of achieving self-identity in flowing modernity becomes much more accessible, and on the other hand, it more accurately responds to the self-awareness and self-awareness of the social subject, the individual. (p. 28)

Actually, such a manifestation of a new discursive nature is much more noticeable in ideas that function in the political space than in other areas of human activity. Thus, at the micro level of politics in connection with the acquisition of a new identity, a conflict of interests, a struggle for influence, confrontation, or cooperation between actors in a network society is assumed. In addition, we note the depreciation of substantialism and fundamentalism, which indicates a loss of existential intentions. We observe that social life turns into a huge number of private dramas, since self-identity is possible when shaping the boundaries of the living space of a particular person. Another aspect of the topic under consideration is the peculiarity of the discourse of political ideas of the network society, which objectively hampers the ability to track the spread of information and reactions related to the message policy and provocations (Evans, 2018). At the level of practice, this leads to a massive lack of understanding of the original ideas of the actors and the emergence of problems of political communication, the essence of which is reduced to the inability of the actors to achieve effective interaction.

At the same time, the clear contours of the political macro-level, defined by the strategies to achieve global goals, appear. Here there is a manipulation of public consciousness, persuasion, irrational strategies in conjunction with a well-defined plan of threats. It is quite understandable that, depending on the level and situation, politicians use political ideas for various purposes: from informing to instructions and persuading the “correctness” of a particular institutional construction of a society. According to the views of L. Wittgenstein, the comprehension of political ideas actualizes the inclusion here also of the study of the very thought process (as cited in Dobrzeniecki, 2016). Therefore, it is not accidental that our idea that political activity can be reduced to activities in syncretism “idea - discursive embodiment” thanks to the connection “political thinking - language form - political action”. Modern political paradigms are radically transformed, affecting mainly the “global periphery” (Wallerstein, 2004).

In accordance with changes in sociality, social memory is also transformed as a combination of various practices “oriented towards maintaining symbolic links between the current state of society and images of the past” (Anikin, 2018, p. 131). By and large, social memory is a collection of ideas that have existed, are and will be created in the future. Speaking of social memory, we mean the entire intellectual history of a particular society that was once accumulated, created and used by many social agents. Being a unity of ideas, social memory has polylogy, mediality, processuality, contextuality. As a result, such a definition of the content of social memory depersonalizes the social existence of each particular actor, as well as communication between them.

There is a formation of new forms of political interaction, including political mobilization. The Internet, due to its publicity and multiple opportunities for self-expression, expands the boundaries of personal freedom, but does not allow to form an adequate level of responsibility for the content of the content. As a result,

the open space of social networks for interested policy makers makes it easy to identify potential supporters, as well as to assess the degree of dissatisfaction with one or another political event. Using various manipulative technologies, for example, indoctrination, an interested person in social networks (large number of participants, efficiency, unrestricted access and speed of information dissemination) has an excellent opportunity to use this communication channel for the process of political mobilization focused mainly on youth. (Sherstobitov, 2013, p. 101)

Here there is a unity of the informative component of political communication and the emotional component, implemented in the form of trust and evaluation of news. This is where the relevance and relevance of information lies, which can mobilize political supporters and dissenters in the network community.


Our understanding of the essence of social memory reveals the horizons of future radical transformations in the implementation and functioning of the discourse of political ideas. They are formed in the process of exercising political power, but not through coercion from the outside, as was done in previous epochs, but through the network as a way of organizing a society, fundamentally changing the very essence of governing society. Speaking thesis: the one who controls the information field controls everything in a network society. The social setting has a political impact on the creation, use, and reproduction of network content, which then affects society. And the more political institutions use the power of the Internet, the more successful they are. The reason is the fact that these institutions control the discourse of political ideas existing in the social memory, as well as the ability to form fundamentally new ideas that are useful and effective in creating a certain intellectual attitude of various population groups. The discourse of political ideas is significantly modified not only by institutional transformations, but also because of changes in interactions between institutions. Modern institutions transfer a number of interactions between themselves and society in the area of media discourse. The influence of the media complements the political ideas of a permanent image component. Image often contributes to ideological modifications that reflect institutional interactions and redistribute powers in the power structure in a network society. Thus, the discourse of political ideas in a network society is perceived as eventually colored, in which bright events transform the system of institutions and relationships, the norms and rules of political interactions, values and myths, scientific concepts and everyday ideas about power in society. In a network society, politics is becoming more and more clearly manifested as a semantic and semantic reproduction activity aimed at forming, maintaining and changing relations of domination and subordination in society. Even the implementation of descriptive functions by the discourse of political ideas in network society implies a qualitatively new legitimation of power relations, and the subject sphere of the political is characterized by uncertainty and ephemerality of both the political objects themselves and their borders. In a network society, any political action begins with words, rests on them and ends with them. However, few people are fully aware that political control is exercised through the word. The ontology of the discourse of political ideas is one of the private ontologies, which is based on the power relations within the discourse itself.


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28 December 2019

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Sociolinguistics, linguistics, semantics, discourse analysis, science, technology, society

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Ravochkin*, N. (2019). Political Ideas Discourse In Network Society: Socio-Philosophical Analysis. In D. Karim-Sultanovich Bataev, S. Aidievich Gapurov, A. Dogievich Osmaev, V. Khumaidovich Akaev, L. Musaevna Idigova, M. Rukmanovich Ovhadov, A. Ruslanovich Salgiriev, & M. Muslamovna Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 76. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 2657-2663). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.12.04.357