De digitale intellektuelles ansvar

Silas Mercier

Studenteropgave: Speciale


This master is based on an interest in the public intellectuals and their responsibilities in a digitized media culture. In the attempt to provide a qualified answer to which tasks the public intellectuals should undertake today, the thesis follows the footsteps of French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre and his claim that the public intellectuals must seek a dialogic relation to the vulnerable populations in the society. This to understand the population, learn from them and raise their issues to a universal level in the public.

The dialogic potentials of Facebook seem to offer the possibility to incorporate Sartre’s idea into the digital age. In the thesis, I therefore pose the question: In which way is it possible for public intellectuals to seek a Sartrean dialogic relation with society’s stigmatized population on Facebook? The importance of this sort of relationship has not decreased, as we in recent years have seen a new bloom of right-wing populist movements that attempt to recruit vulnerable populations in society and obtain power that tends to threaten our democratic order with its anti-pluralistic agendas.

The thesis two main sections are Chapter Two and Three. In chapter two I discuss and characterize the rightwing populist movements, their interest in recruiting the society’s vulnerable populations and furthermore describe who constitute this population. In addition, I discuss what characterizes a public intellectual and his tasks in the public sphere. Finally, I outline four prerequisites on Facebook that make it difficult for public intellectuals to seek Sartrean relation to society’s vulnerable groups. In Chapter Three I conduct a linguistic uttering-analysis of Facebook status updates by author and journalist Carsten Jensen and lawyer and debater Jacob Mchangama. This, in order to answer how Jensen and Mchangama position themselves in relation to the intellectual telos as an ally with the vulnerable populations.

I find that the public intellectual position is a very difficult one to conquer on Facebook. The public demand for cheap entertainment, short texts and audiovisual news on Facebook contradicts the public intellectual’s preferred way to communicate. In addition, my studies of journalist Carsten Jensen’s and lawyer Jacob Mchangama's status updates on Facebook show that they more or less consciously address like-minded readers. As a result, they lose connection to the vulnerable groups in the society. Thus, my thesis paints the picture of an intellectual elite communicating to like-minded readers from the well-educated classes, rather than seeking a sartrean relation to society’s vulnerable population.

UddannelserDansk, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato22 feb. 2018
Antal sider88
Vejledereerik svendsen


  • intellektuelle
  • intellektuel
  • Carsten Jensen
  • Jacob Mchangama
  • populisme
  • stigma
  • udkant
  • udsigelse
  • facebook
  • sociale medier