BOOK LAUNCH! Searching for a New Kenya: Politics & Social Media, Mombasa

Author: Dr Stephanie Diepeveen

From the electoral surprises of 2016 to Covid-19, democracy appears to be in crisis. The digitalisation of politics poses a particular challenge to democracy, as misinformation abounds and citizens are swept up in conspiracies. In Searching for a New Kenya, author Stephanie Diepeveen asks, ‘What happens to the democratic public sphere as it shifts from in-person to online channels?’ Drawing from ethnographic study of popular politics on the street and on social media in Kenya, Stephanie finds that while pessimism about digital democracy is premature, some critical aspects of public debate are sacrificed in the shift online.

Through a critical revision of Hannah Arendt’s ideas about action and power, this book explores the limitations and possibilities of using the Western canon to interrogate politics elsewhere. In so doing, this book raises important questions about both how we study politics, and what is lost and gained as public discussion moves online.

Stephanie is a Research Associate in the Bennett Institute for Public Policy. Previously, she was Deputy Director and Research Associate in the Centre of Governance and Human Rights. She has a PhD in Politics and International Studies from the University of Cambridge, an MPhil in Development Studies from the University of Cambridge, and a BAH in History and Global Development Studies from Queen’s University, Canada. Stephanie has also worked as a research analyst at RAND Europe, focusing on policy-oriented research in the areas of research evaluation, institution building and social policy.