Main Development Trajectories Of "Biopolitics" And "Digital Politics" In The Digital Age


The paper examines the leading trajectories in changing the socio-political and socio-economic life of modern societies that appeared due to digitalization and the global pandemic processes (Covid-19). The article discusses principal transformations both in socio-political practice and in political thought. Separately, the research analyzes the main models or strategic options for the developing "Biopolitics" and "Digital Politics" under the influence of either the digital transformation of society or a long-term viral pandemic. The authors identify and consider in detail: a service model focused on the expansion of digital medical services and population protection systems (digital health care and digital health protection), as well as the general introduction of electronic medical services (health services); a model of platform solutions focused on digital globalization, the formation of a universal health system, bio-surveillance and biosecurity; 3) models of digital transhumanism and bioevolutionism, justifying the cardinal evolution of society, a human being, and all the traditional functioning systems; 4) the model of digital statism, which involves the digitalization of national structures, and the creation of sovereign mechanisms for their protection from various external and internal threats. The paper also substantiates that the variant of digital statism is most suitable to modern domestic and international realities and existing viral challenges and civilizational risks.

Keywords: Authority, artificial intelligence, biopolitics, digital politics, state


The influence of viral challenges on socio-economic and political-legal processes on the example of infectious diseases testifies to their complex effect. Thus, we can characterize the coronavirus pandemic as a "systemic shock" that combines economic, social, political, and other consequences. The pandemic revealed the authorities of many states' unwillingness to respond effectively to society's needs in the acute crisis. It happens during the accelerating technology development, widespread digitalization, and informatization of socio-political relations (Mamychev et al., 2020). Moreover, civil society institutions at the national and global levels have shown an inability to quickly mobilize and direct social resources to overcome various types of crises activated by the new coronavirus infection (Covid-19). The global pandemic, on the one hand, has significantly increased the role and importance of the institution of the state in social development crises, "regaining" the status of a key political actor in solving principal social problems, mobilizing various social resources, and organizing mass life modes necessary to counter the threats and risks that have arisen (Karabushenko et al., 2021, Marinković & Major, 2020). On the other hand, we mainly associate successful experiences in combating the new coronavirus infection consequences were with the close interaction of numerous civil society institutions and the state. The conscientious forms of public organizations' activities, trade unions, voluntary associations, and public authorities can quickly and adequately form a response to viral challenges.

Problem Statement

To date, it is still difficult to predict all the possible consequences of an extraordinary situation under the common name "Covid-19". According to the most pessimistic model, this situation's socio-political and socio-economic impact may exceed the global financial crisis of 2007-2009, social and other instability. Distrust of decisions taken at the state authorities' level, integration associations, and international organizations is increasing in society against the background of the indicated economic and social consequences (Minakov, 2020).

Undoubtedly, there are current problems related to the healthcare system functioning, of which there are quite a lot. The period of the global pandemic has significantly aggravated a number of these problems (systemic healthcare system underfunding, personnel optimization, reduction of infectious departments, modernization of the system of medical education and advanced training) and highlighted fundamentally new ones. For example, legal problems related to the lack of advising legal authorities, which prevent the spread of viral infections, protection of health workers and their activities in extreme situations). There are problems of organizational and managerial nature caused by the integration and coordination of various structures (information monitoring, accounting, control, expert community, management decision-making bodies, and civil society institutions, legitimizing the latter and ensuring their actual implementation in everyday practices, and the like). And many other problems have been analyzed and discussed quite often lately.

However, it is essential to pay attention to another aspect. As part of further modeling of trends and trajectories of the healthcare system development, it is necessary to discuss possible strategic models for the transformation of the healthcare system under the influence of intensive development of end-to-end digital technologies, as well as fundamental changes in the political process (Tucker, 2020). It is no coincidence that the World Health Organization (WHO) recently initiated such a discussion. The scholars debated the following issues, including the problems of transforming health systems, considering the global experience of countering and preventing the spread of viral infections; state and public struggle against long-term epidemics; the introduction of digital technologies and autonomous algorithmic solutions in the process of monitoring, controlling and mobile (online) responding to emerging risks and threats; creation of global systems for responding and combating various biological challenges, and the like.

In the aspect under the study, it seems appropriate to consider general changes in socio-political dynamics and project models (strategic options) for the health systems development. Accordingly, the consideration of these issues will lead to their implementation in the context of the current transformations of the socio-political life of society. These changes and modifications are significant for understanding the modern development trajectories of "Biopolitics" and "Digital politics" as principal areas of socio-political dynamics.

Research Questions

"Covid-19" as a global socio-political phenomenon connected at once into a symbolic unity a whole series of diverse trends - ecological, biological, digital, socio-cultural, and others, highlighting not only, or perhaps not so much, their diversity and contradictory nature, as their specific controversial integrity. In other words, the global pandemic has shown that all these diverse spheres are not only peculiar and have their development trajectories but are also closely related, developing together and determining the trajectories and the dynamic nature of each of the above. The latter is not external. They are integral parts of the reality in which modern society lives. They are attribute elements and indestructible factors that determine the socially organized world and the human biological existence, which Covid-19 has clearly shown.

The latter is also connected with the present social liveliness (both at the individual and the community levels); it "coexists" or unfolds together with the activity of the non-human elements (various entities that significantly affect the socio-political dynamics). So, today the socio-political orientation is increasingly being defined through digital forms that generate specific events in socio-cultural and digital reality. It is essential to consider that the socio-political reality modifies digital development trajectories and forms the specifics of the development of the digital algorithms in machine learning. It is so since the latter is implemented based on specific social data and cultural artifacts, during which the development of these algorithmic systems receives a specific socio-cultural component. As a result, particular development characteristics of the digital systems and the scope of their application during the pandemic appear.

Today, socio-political thinking and research experiences transform the dictionary in describing the unfolding events and processes, the concept penetration, and ideas from various descriptive systems and research protocols. There is an intensive search for a new dictionary, which, on the one hand, can adequately describe modern fundamental changes in society, politics, and law under the influence of digital transformation and the unfolding long-term viral pandemic, as well as accelerated climate change. On the other hand, it provides an opportunity to consider various systems (social, ecological, biological, physical, and digital) as interrelated and equivalent, without prioritizing any in the field/dimensions.

This transformation is already tangible since the importance of digital systems, the technical needs of digital infrastructure; biological and environmental dominants are becoming equivalent in their status, and not infrequently leading concerning the person's interests and needs, groups, and communities. At present, other guidelines are coming to the fore, conditioned by the system needs (technical, informational, digital, biological, climatic, and the like) that "nominally serve us," but for which social value-normative codes and standards are not leading in their development vector (Greenfield, 2018; Lyubashits et al., 2019).

When modeling socio-economic and political-legal dynamics and designing target orientations for diverse spheres of social life development, it is essential to consider numerous systems interaction (biological, physical, socio-cultural, digital) and their mutual influence. We also have to predict how they resonate and reinforce each other; behave when the trajectory of each of the elements changes (Apolsky et al., 2020; Mamychev et al., 2020). At the same time, it is crucial to determine, on the one hand, the uniqueness and specificity of each factor impact, for example, the influence of the speed of the virus on the process of making, adopting, legitimizing socially and politically significant managerial decisions, the dynamics of changes in political decisions and the development of the contradictions in public-power relations, socio-political communications, and the like. On the other hand, it is necessary to assume the "emergent effects" development from their interaction. We should consider the interaction and mutual influence of digital forms, biological factors, and socio-cultural dominants, together with their combined impact (an ontologically unique combination) on the formation of socio-political and socio-economic events (Frolova et al., 2020; Rusakova et al., 2020).

Purpose of the Studу

The study aims to establish the mutual influence of various systems that resonate with each other and reinforce each other, determining the development trajectories of each of the elements. Thus, the development vectors of digital algorithms and the specifics of their implementation under the influence of the viral threat development trajectory ensure the control and biosecurity of the population. They maintain the controllability of social processes and reproduction of the current economic, political, legal, and other orders. In this aspect, algorithmic solutions modeling the virus development, mathematical calculations and diagrams of its spread, management decisions are taken, and specific socio-legal control and coordination regimes work together, influencing each other.

Research Methods

The authors focus on a "post-disciplinary strategy" of considering socio-political phenomena. This strategy combines socio-humanitarian forms and cognition methods (political science, sociology, philosophy, cultural studies, and law), together with several theoretical and methodological provisions of natural sciences (general theory of systems, computer science, cybernetics, and the like). The post-disciplinary strategy of the research team's activity takes as a basis the problem field, and not the disciplinary requirements, provisions, and principles of cognition of a particular discipline, thereby not limiting the perspective of consideration of the problem field and the limitations of the theoretical and methodological arsenal of a separate subject. On the contrary, the authors aim at the formation of a complex subject orientation, which "draws" into the communication process – achievements and positions, first of all, of various social and humanitarian sciences, involving categories, concepts, and ideological and conceptual innovations of natural sciences (Mamychev, 2017).

An example of the latter is such concepts and categories as convergence (mixing, convergence, approximation of different materials and substances), assemblage (collection/assembly of social and non-social elements), "fluidity" (distribution and redistribution of factors, energy, actions from one area of interaction to another), knowledge used in the political system to describe transitional, mixed political structures, or political effects caused by the development of digital technologies; or ideological and conceptual innovations of synergetics, organically included in the system of humanitarian research. In this regard, the post-disciplinary campaign focuses not on the disciplinary "affiliation" from which the interaction of various sciences occurs but on the phenomenon under study itself. The provisions, methods, and techniques of diverse disciplines are involved in joint co-creation and scientific communication about the cognizable phenomenon. At the same time, the complexity of the phenomenon under study and the diversity of the object-subject field, the complexity of research tasks determine the dialogue of various branches of knowledge, specific styles of thinking (natural science and socio-humanitarian), interdisciplinary approaches, methodological principles and cognitive tools (Chernikova, 2018).

"Postdisciplinarity," as the research leading methodological principle, does not replace or cancel the interdisciplinary principle of cognition characteristic of post-nonclassical rationality (Kiyashchenko & Stepin, 2009). On the contrary, postdisciplinarity complements the inter-disciplinary approach and "insures" it from the priority of one disciplinary dimension. At the same time, the disciplinary framework is considered a conditional analytical tool and technique since this research project is based on free and equal communication between different knowledge systems. The problems under study and the solution of the research tasks are impossible to deal with without the interaction of various knowledge systems. The transfer of cognitive schemes from one disciplinary area to another one takes place on this surface; a platform for joint research projects is created, and synergy between disciplines is stimulated (Knyazeva, 2011).

The theoretical and methodological basis of the study is the neoinstitutional approach within the framework of analysis of the digital transformation of socio-political relations. As a result of the digitalization of public-power relations, political communication, the electoral process, and electoral procedures will manifest themselves at different levels and affect both the legal infrastructure, voting specifics, and the established networks of interactions of various actors, for example, on the ballot production, printing, processing, and storage. The neoinstitutional research direction will help focus on the voters' behavior research and the dependence of electoral participation on existing formal and informal institutions.

The theoretical basis of the research is a combination of political and legal approaches to the political process and actor-network theory analysis. The political-legal method is significant to analyze the normative and value bases of existing formal institutions. Actor-network theory gives opportunities to identify the impact of technological and biological changes on the direction and nature of the development of political relations (Latour, 2014).

In this regard, we find the methodological principle justified by Anne-Marie Mol, John Law, and J. Butler significant for this study. According to it, people, things, machines, digital technologies jointly form unique, specific relationships within which each is created, mediated, objectified, and determined (as cited in Delanda, 2018). Researchers call this principle "method-assembly." It focuses on how these specific relationships are created and unfold. And most importantly, it considers relationships, technologies, and machines as integral "agents" that form and influence practical activity and its nature.

At the same time, within the framework of these flexible and constantly changing relations, there are always general conditions and organization forms ("assembly forms") necessary for their existence and development. Being multiple, they are preserved and transformed as a definite whole.


The period of the global pandemic will lead to a change in the political space of modern society. Over the past 1.5 years, biopolitical issues have become priorities on the political agenda, and digital technologies have become an integral element in public administration (Ovcharenko et al., 2021; Pele & Riley, 2021; Rouse, 2021; Sotiris, 2020). There is no doubt that state bodies, together with various political parties and movements, will actively use the biological and digital agenda in the future political programs development. Today's public rhetoric includes the social interests of society and specific social groups and the fundamental development trajectories of the biological, digital, and ecological system elements. From now on, political forecasting and socio-legal modeling will undoubtedly consider possible directions of development and digital technologies application, possible biological threats, and specific public-power modes of functioning (for example, during a long-term viral pandemic).

In this regard, the effectiveness of forecasting and socio-political dynamics modeling will increase if their content, in addition to behavioral, cultural, institutional, and other social factors, includes specific development trajectories of digital forms and technologies, biological and environmental factors. The state needs to develop programs for the digital infrastructure and the formation of digital competencies and skills among persons who provide definite services and direct consumers of these services covering the state's whole population, regardless of their age, social or financial status. These, in turn, will serve as a guarantee not only of effective counteraction to global challenges but also of the country's sustainable economic development.

The pandemic associated with the spread of coronavirus infection has initiated a specific trajectory for digital technologies progress and political and legal practices. Thus, the development trajectory and the Covid-19 have significantly influenced the improvement, complication, and mass implementation of digital surveillance systems, registration, and identification of both social actors and the impact of the pandemic in social networking sites. Mobile applications have been introduced into personal and social life, which have formed new interaction modes between citizens, control procedures, differentiated supervision, and disciplinary practices. In this aspect, the spread of mass data collection and processing systems of public (various activities and movement in the social environment) and private (control over the state and location of subjects in personal space) characters requires ensuring: firstly, proper data protection from illegal transfer to third parties; and, secondly, socio-legal control over their storage, processing, and use, which requires the formation of fundamentally new socio-political institutions and practices.

Considering the above and summarizing the practice of public administration during a long-term viral pandemic, it is possible to predict several strategic options (models) for the development of biopolitics in a digital society.

assumes intensive digital service model development of the public and private sector, including digital medical expansion and public protection systems services (digital health care, digital health protection) and total electronic medical services introduction (health services). The principal development trajectory includes digital services, individual digital medical profile formation, subject-oriented electronic medical services, telemedicine, online counseling, and the like. The state's service concept and the provision of state public services become the ideological and doctrinal basis for biopolitics in the digital age (Valle, 2020).

Information management and exchange about the nation's and a person's health, the formation of a specific public infrastructure, which includes computer databases and networks (for example, hospital information systems, modern diagnostic technologies, emergency communication systems), as well as medicine production and distribution systems, staff training systems are in focus (Tucker, 2020). Moreover, medical data collection systems, health monitoring, and the like are not only an effective tool for building individualized services but also a powerful source of economic (for example, through targeted service advertising) and political (contextual political news, individualized political agenda, and targeted political advertising) development.

The emphasis falls not only on the efficient system creation of individualized medical services but also on citizens' viral and digital security. Nevertheless, the main problem of this model, as the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has shown, is its low efficiency in mass viral threats, pandemics, and other extraordinary situations. It is due to low mobility in rebuilding to mass (collective) forms of countering viral dangers, especially from organizational and economic aspects.

focuses on digitalization, universal healthcare formation, bio-surveillance, and biosecurity. The main emphasis is on the digital data collection platforms and virtual monitoring networks development. Under this paradigm, a transnational political discourse is justified, arguing for the need for free economic exchange of DNA data, biometric information, health status, personal contacts (for example, when contacting infected people and building a virus distribution network), and the like. Modeling and implementing a global digital infrastructure is actively being carried out. Together with the modern tools, they provide social biosecurity monitoring and controlling the personal contacts of infected people flow, their movements (for example, such solutions were proposed by leading IT corporations Google, Apple, and the like). 

The main problem and threat in the paradigmatic grounds for the transformation of the healthcare system dissemination is the lack of political and legal instruments of control, restrictions, and responsibility. Unlike medical data collected by doctors and hospitals, analog data collected by FitBit (data on the health and user activity - author) or AncestrDNA (collection, processing, and analysis of genetic information of a particular person's DNA - author) can use them on their wish (Walsh, 2019). It makes it possible to build various forecasts, models, and algorithms on their basis and sell or present it to any interested parties. Today there are no right and effective political, ethical, and regulatory instruments to restrict the exchange, dissemination, and use of any data related to human health or society. The traditional healthcare system is known to have several such restrictions (for example, medical secrecy), along with legal and ethical responsibility for using this information. 

In the problem under discussion, the digital algorithmization of the healthcare system process and the political process (political fakes and voting bots, virtual platforms, political candidates, and the like) occur. However, efficient political and legal instruments that regulate these algorithmic systems (especially artificial intelligence systems) have not been formed. Moreover, there is also no system of social control over the adoption of certain socially significant management decisions by these systems.

substantiate that the current politics, law, economics, healthcare, and the like are a thing of the past. Completely different management and biosecurity systems will replace them as a person will change significantly in the future. It is proved that shortly we are waiting for the convergence of human and technological, biological, and digital algorithms. A new round of evolution will happen, causing the appearance of new creatures, including genetic, biotechnological, algorithmic, and other transformations of Homo Sapiens (Harari, 2018). In turn, the development of digital systems will lead to technologies of "embedding" human consciousness into a digital format, creating a global digital reality (cyberreality will become dominant, subordinating the intersubjective/communicative, physical, and biological).

on the contrary, justifies digital sovereignty and digitalization of national systems (political, legal, economic, health), their protection from various external and internal threats – physical, virtual, biological, and other types. For example, we can apply it in the healthcare system to develop a state epidemiological surveillance network (disease surveillance network). Epidemiological surveillance networks, DSNS are non-human networks; not because human element has been replaced by computers, but because human actions and decision-making form parts of the network (Tucker, 2020). In this case, there is a development of national digital platforms using information networks to monitor, prevent and counteract epidemics and other viral challenges/threats (Mamychev & Miroshnichenko, 2018). 

At the same time, we can justify that the national networks formed should be controlled and regulated within the sovereign jurisdiction of a particular state. Thus the latter ensures, on the one hand, the data protection from their free use; and, on the other, the national and cultural social specifics protection and the adequacy of the system to the unique development trajectories of digital, biological, and social environments. 

For example, the states implementing this model (for example, China and the USA) are actively developing national artificial intelligence systems and other algorithmic expert systems for modeling the occurrence of epidemiological threats and predicting their development trajectories. As the Chinese researcher Zhao Hongrui (2020) justifies, that virtual network technologies need to be protected, directed and controlled, and this protection will serve the purpose of protecting network information based on law with a coercive nature. We should emphasize that only sovereign coercive force can exercise binding jurisdiction, and ordinary contractual actions other than sovereignty cannot establish a universal order.


The population needs to receive information about situations in the country and the globe in real-time or approximated to it in the collision conditions of the state and society with global challenges. Information should be provided in all available forms (television and radio broadcasting, newspapers, the Internet, and the like), taking into account the needs of all categories of citizens, based on their age, social and financial situation, which affects the method the information is received. At the same time, the information disseminated requires specific control since it may contain personal data, the use of which is possible only in strict accordance with legal regulations based on human rights.

In the legal sphere, new directions of extra-legal activity of the state authorities have emerged, related to public government activity, not regulated by legal norms, but necessary to prevent infections, restrictions related to movement, self-isolation regime, and the like. New forms of state-legal coercion have also developed (for example, lockdown), types of adverse legal consequences (for example, sanctions related to violation of the mass regime of using personal protective equipment). This process should go together with updating legal technology tools for quick and effective response to non-standard situations and resolving them legally, which does not allow possible human and civil rights and freedoms violations.

The socio-political processes during the pandemic have clearly shown the absence of substantial institutional and non-institutional mechanisms to influence the "pandemic agenda;" making power and management decisions, along with effective control mechanisms for the collection; processing, and use of personal data among citizens, public organizations, professional communities. We should note the international practice of prior consent of a specific socio-political institute for personal data protection to verify the proper personal information protection and control over their use. Moreover, the experience of digital development of systems for controlling and monitoring the viral threats and individual and collective social activity of citizens indicates the lack of effective technologies for legitimizing restrictive measures taken, digital surveillance systems, and restrictions (for example, a digital passes system). They coexist with the lack of opportunities for citizens to update and delete digital data and user characteristics in these digital systems.

Shortly, the principal models for the development of biopolitics are the following:

1) The service paradigm involves the intensive development of the digital service model of public and private services, including the expansion of digital health medical services and public protection systems (digital health care, digital health protection), the total introduction of electronic medical services (health services);

2) A model of platform solutions focused on digital globalization, a universal health system formation, bio-surveillance, and biosecurity;

3) Models of digital transhumanism and bioevolutionism justify that the current politics, law, economics, healthcare are a thing of the past. Completely different management and biosecurity systems will take their place since the person will change significantly in the future;

4) A model of digital statism based on digital sovereignty and digitalization of national systems (political, legal, economic, healthcare, and the like), the creation of sovereign mechanisms for their protection from various external and internal threats (physical, virtual, biological, and other types). The authors believe that the latter model is most suitable to modern domestic and international realities, existing viral challenges, and civilizational risks.


The research was carried out with the financial support of the Grant of the President of the Russian Federation No. NSH-2668.2020.6 "National-cultural and digital trends of socio-economic and political-legal development of the Russian Federation in the XXI century."


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Mamychev, A. Y., Kim, A. A., & Miroshnichenko, O. I. (2022). Main Development Trajectories Of "Biopolitics" And "Digital Politics" In The Digital Age. In N. G. Bogachenko (Ed.), AmurCon 2021: International Scientific Conference, vol 126. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 678-688). European Publisher.