Demoxie: Reflections on digital democracy in Dave Eggers' novel The Circle

  • Kathrin Maurer
  • Christian F. Rostbøll

Abstract

The Circle is a novel written by the American author Dave Eggers (2013), and it tells the story about a powerful Internet company that works with highly developed surveillance technologies to monitor workers as well as the local and global community. In discussions and research this novel often has been seen in the tradition of a dystopic and totalitarian view of society as we know from Orwell’s 1984 or Huxleys Brave New World. However, this article critically investigates a vision of democracy that is suggested in The Circle. Circlers call this political model “demoxie”, which embraces the idea that everybody who has a Circle account is also a registered voter. That means, the voter directly votes on issues via his or her Internet platform (such as decisions on healthcare, company policies, as well as international politics issues). Based on this work of fiction as well as recent discussions about cyber democracy, this article opens up a discussion about the benefits and risks of Internet technologies and democracy.

Author Biographies

Kathrin Maurer

Kathrin Maurer is Associate Professor of German Studies at the University of Southern Denmark and leads the research project on drone imaginaries and communities sponsored by the Danish Research Council. Her research is focused on remote technology, aesthetics, German literature, and discourses of war.

Christian F. Rostbøll

Professor of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He is the author of Deliberative freedom: Deliberative democracy as critical theory (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2008) and co-editor of Compromise and disagreement in contemporary political theory (London: Routledge, 2018).

Published
2020-04-24
How to Cite
Maurer, K., & Rostbøll, C. F. (2020). Demoxie: Reflections on digital democracy in Dave Eggers’ novel The Circle. First Monday, 25(5). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v25i5.10650
Section
Articles