On Digital Sovereignty. Discussion about “The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty”


(Università degli Studi di Macerata)

Geert Lovink

(University of Amsterdam)

In collaboration with the Italian Institute for Advanced Studies in Torino ‘Umberto Eco “Scienza Nuova”

What is the role and meaning of the word “design” in a world that delegates the mediation of all social activities to the digital infrastructure? How complex is our relationship with the environment of objects surrounding us? Can the theory of sovereignty be updated to include the architectural role of software?

Those are some of the urgent and ambitious questions raised by Benjamin Bratton, Professor of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego, in his 2015 book The Stack. By taking interdisciplinarity seriously, Bratton carries out a speculative journey through design, philosophy, architecture, geopolitics and social theory. This “Hegelian project” (Lovink) – which can be seen as an attempt to create a futurable metanarrative for those of study the digital revolution – borrows the engineering metaphor of the Stack to create a complex and multi-layered conceptual framework that may turn very useful to think about the transition from the decentralized Internet to platforms’ centralized methods to intercept and produce value from interactions, subjects from users and governmentality from software.


Gianmarco Cristofari

Gianmarco CRISTOFARI is a Phd student in ‘Global Studies: Justice, Rights and Politics’ at the University of Macerata, department of political sciences. His research focus on the concept of digital platform from an interdisciplinary and systemic perspective as well as on the relationship between Law and the design of digital infrastructure. After graduating in European and transnational law at the University of Trento he worked as a consultant in a law firm specialised in privacy and cybersecurity in Rome.

Geert Lovink

Suggested readings and links


Video of the meeting