This is a summary on the work on narratives that we did on the afternoon of the first day and the moring of the second. It is extracted from the full notes on the cryptopad.

In order to identify elements of our narrative we first broke into 4 groups based on the classification presented by Judith in the summary of the mapping reserach. Based on the discussions in these groups the groups were asekd to identift a small number of elements for a narrative. This resulted in the following list (bold denotes the items that were selected as core elements in the next step):

Cultural and Public Institutions (CULT)

  • delivery of public goods
  • digital transformation a
  • (provision of) public infrastructure
  • invest in progressive approach s
  • delivery of social value
  • public online platforms
  • anger at austerity policies
  • public procurement for public goods

Open movement

  • commons
  • post silo
  • personhood as prerequsite / constitutional change
  • legitimacy as stakeholders
  • new economy
  • political power
  • nothing about us without us
  • personhood to peerhood

Technology

  • regulation
  • unbundling
  • net neutrality
  • sovereignity
  • break up the GAFAMs
  • public money = public knowledge
  • Europe
  • stop US extraction of EU economy
  • no mindcontrol
  • code/algoritmic transparency
  • data != gold knowledge == life
  • decentralized platforms
  • ban personalized ads

Human Rights

  • individual rights
  • collective rights
  • social justice
  • human security
  • regulation
  • citizenship

This lead to the following list of core terms that shoudl form the basis of our narrative:

Public goods, social value, public platforms, personhood, commons, new economy, regulation, sovereignity, Europe, collective rights, social justice and citizenship

We then broke into 4 groups which were asked to craft a short narrative based on as many of these concepts as possible. This resulted in the following 4 narratives:

Group 1 (Sophie, Joanna, Harry, Bodo and Judith)

The European digital commons denotes a new deal of the European Commission that prioritizes a socially and ecolocogical sustainable society that ensures high quality digital public services, thriving digital publics/ communities, a regenerative economy , individual sovereignty/autonomy/dignity under the conditions of fair market competition, fair labor conditions, social justice, and regulation which prevents monopolies and privatisation of public goods[1].

Group 2 (Volker, Duncan, Stacco, Alek)

We want our digital commons and shared infrastructure to meet shared needs, delivering public goods and social value for Europe. Building on a foundation of respecting personhood, supporting collective rights and social justice, we can create a new economy focused on just regulation, creating alternatives (inc. public) and enabling new commons.

Group 3 (Diego, Marleen, Katja, Paul, Thomas)

Digital Europe / Digital Society / Information Society / etc. is a strategy to maintain European technological sovereignty and democratic participation in the digital economy. It builds on the principles of the commons to deliver social value, collective rights and social justice. It strengthens the provision of public goods and services, such as culture and education.

Group 4 (Anna, Kasha, David, Melanie, Aral)

The Digital Social Contract is a European Union strategy to ensure a sustainable, free society, social justice, and a fair deal for European denizens by protecting the integrity of personhood in the digital/networked age.

As such, our policies favour human rights over corporate rights, protecting the commons from enclosure over privitisation, distribution over centralisation, small over big, local over global, and individual/communal ownership and control over colonial approaches.

Merged narrative

On the moring of the second day the workshop organizing team proposed a single narrative that merges elements from these 4 narratives (passages in aquare brackes denote passages where choices need to be made):

European digital commons is [a new deal/strategy/social contract] to maintain technological sovereignty of European Citizens and a democratic digital environment. We want our digital commons and shared infrastructure to meet shared needs, contribute to thriving digital publics and communities in Europe. It must be designed to be socially and ecologically sustainable. In the [digital/networked] age we need to:

  1. Focus on the delivery of social goods instead of mere economic growth.
  2. Recognize the need for individual and collective sovereignty and preserving personhood.
  3. Rely on a commons approach to a decentralized digital infrastructure stack
  4. Provide public goods via strong public institutions in culture, education and science
  5. Enable fair market competition, fair labor conditions, and regulation which prevents monopolies and privatisation of public goods.

[As such, EDC policies favour human rights over corporate rights, protecting the commons from enclosure over privatisation, distribution over centralisation, small over big, local over global, and individual/communal ownership and control over colonial approaches.]

We then discussed this narrative. While most people in the group felt that the combined narrative was a good destillation of the core elements of the previous 4 narratives, it quickly became clear that substantial parts of the narrative were percieved as problematic by many participants. As a result we did not do any further textual work on the narrative.


  1. This group also produced 2 alternative version one by Judith and one by Bodo, which can be found on the pad ↩︎