‘Free country, free internet’: the symbolic power of technology in the Hungarian internet tax protests

Ferrari, E. (2019) ‘Free country, free internet’: the symbolic power of technology in the Hungarian internet tax protests. Media Culture and Society, 41(1), pp. 70-85. (doi: 10.1177/0163443718799394)

[img] Text
260125.pdf - Accepted Version



n 2014, the Hungarian government announced the introduction of a tax on internet usage. The proposal generated large protests, which led to its eventual withdrawal. In this article, I investigate the puzzling success of the ‘internet tax’ protests: how could a small tax on internet consumption generate so much contestation? I argue that the internet tax was able to give way to a broader mobilization against the government, because of the symbolic power of the idea of ‘the internet’, to which different political meanings can be attached. Through interviews with Hungarian activists, I reconstruct how the internet was associated with a mobilizing discourse that I term ‘mundane modernity’, which reproduces tropes of Western modernity about the equalizing properties of technology, progress, and rationality, while grounding them in the everyday practices of internet use. I then discuss the types of freedom embedded in mundane modernity and assess its political limitations.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This research was supported by The Internet Policy Observatory at the University of Pennsylvania
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ferrari, Dr Elisabetta
Authors: Ferrari, E.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Media Culture and Society
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1460-3675
Published Online:24 September 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 SAGE Publications
First Published:First published in Media Culture and Society 41(1):70-85
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record