What is the foundation of social citizenship in the twenty-first century? An empirical reading of popular discourse would suggest it is the oft-repeated dogma of multistakeholderism (MSism). What is MSism, and what does it have to do with Big Tech capitalism?

In the mainstream digital discourse, the idea of ‘stake’ goes back to the successful model on which the internet was built and managed in the early days by governments, the private sector, the technical and academic community, and civil society. Proponents of MSism believe that a whole range of issues confronting modern polity can be solved without the conventional rigmarole of democracy, through a process based on an ‘interest’ in the domain to which the governance apparatus is being applied. Interest-based stakes comprise a simplistic, apolitical device of ensuring an outcome consistent with one’s values (professional, technical, or financial). They shift the compass from citizenship in the community of the governed – rooted in a political-normative consensus about civic-public interest – to a post-democratic notion of voice and participation.

Read the article by Anita Gurumurthy