Boris Litvin on Spectatorship, Memes, and Rousseau

On this episode, Kristen Collins interviews Boris Litvin on spectatorship, memes, and Rousseau. Kristen and Boris delve into the relevance of Rousseau's insights on politics and the public stage, relating them to today's social media-driven democracy. They explore the concept of "audience democracy" coined by Bernard Manin, which distinguishes between those in power and the spectators of politics. They discuss the complexities of spectatorship, its passive nature, surveillance, and the role of social media in shaping political discourse and authenticity. They also examine how video technology, like body cams and bystander videos, impacts power dynamics and public scrutiny, highlighting the need for active participation alongside spectatorship for meaningful democratic change.

Boris Litvin is a Visiting Instructor, Ancient Studies and General Education at Eckerd College. His research interests include intellectual history, democracy, spectatorship, political representation, authority, rhetoric, media, and textual interpretation.

References and related works to this episode: Bernard Manin's The Principles of Representative Government, Jeffrey Edward Green's Eyes of the People" Democracy in the Age of Spectatorship, Nadia Urbinati's Democracy Disfigured: Opinion, Truth, and the People and Me the People: How Populism Transforms Democracy, Boris Litvin's "'This Hearing Should Be Flipped': Democractic Spectatorship, Social Media, and the Problem of Demagogic Candor" and "Staging Emile".

About Virtual Sentiments

Virtual Sentiments is a new podcast from the Hayek Program in which Kristen Collins interviews scholars and practitioners grappling with pressing problems in political economy with an eye to the past.