R. Brubaker sees hyperconnection as a total fact infusing the whole of society. Everything digital is revolutionizing the relationship with oneself, with others, culture, the economy or politics. The author nevertheless fails to think about the integration of digital with existing social formations.

Although there are today numerous works proposing to analyze the consequences of the digital revolution on our societies, fewer are those that manage to do so without falling into a normative statement or a form of technological determinism. Rogers Brubaker, in his latest book, achieves this with mastery. Known in particular for his critical work on identity (ethnic, national, and more recently gender) and for having contributed to introducing the sociology of Pierre Bourdieu to the United States, digital technology is for this author, professor of sociology atUCLAa newly invested object of study.

The object studied, digital hyperconnection, is understood as a total social factin the sense of Marcel Mauss, the networking of individuals, organizations and objects via digital infrastructures shaking all dimensions of life in society. The five chapters that make up the work delve deeper, thematically, into these different dimensions by analyzing the consequences of hyperconnection on self-relation, relation to others, culture, economy and politics. If the areas studied are therefore varied, we find in a transversal manner five main characteristics of this total social fact: abundance (of information, data, cultural goods consumed online, etc.), miniaturization (we think, for example, of peer-to-peer economic micro-transactions), quantification (thus accentuating the trend toward putting data into society), convenience (ie greater ease and immediacy of exchanges and transactions) and finally surveillance (exercised in particular by platforms through the capture and exploitation of Internet users' personal data).

One of the great qualities of R. Brubaker's work is to always succeed in integrating these technological transformations into broader social, economic and political dynamics, thus avoiding the pitfall of naive technological determinism. Hyperconnection is thus neither thought of as a liberating dynamic by nature nor conversely as a force participating in an orchestrated project of surveillance of society.; but as a technological fact embedded in the social, whose conditions of evolution and possibility depend on social dynamics and political choices which are not written in advance. The work thus differentiates itself from analyzes with a more teleological and normative dimension, such as that of Shoshana Zuboff for example (even if R. Brubaker shares with this author a certain number of observations and analyses) while retaining the same macrosociological ambition.

Although the focus is very broad, the work nevertheless mobilizes a large number of monographs and case studies, thus giving the analysis a certain empirical basis. From these scientific biases comes an analysis that is always careful and nuanced, which highlights a certain number of paradoxes, tensions and ambivalences, clearly illustrating the fundamentally social, and therefore contingent, character of digital hyperconnection. Highlighting these paradoxes is stimulating and thought-provoking. Two examples of paradox can be given here.

mancipation versus alination

First paradox: digital hyperconnection facilitates and reinforces (under certain conditions) the reflexivity of the subject (the Internet user) on his practices, but, at the same time, transformed, via the algorithmic processes of platforms, the subject as an object. Stated in a more prosaic manner, digital technology can be both an instrument of emancipation on an individual scale, but also a factor of alienation (ie. of self-dispossession) on a collective scale, to the extent that platforms guide, model and format the behavior of their users in many aspects.

The first chapter of the book details what hyperconnection does to Me; THE digital me is a Me mancip, objective, quantified, product. A me mancip first, when hyperconnection allows, for example, members of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community to know what is happening outside their community, to be a source of information competing with sacred scriptures, or even to establish contacts with the outside world. A objective me when social networks allow you to materialize your thoughts, opinions, moods, memories, etc. and share them with other users. A me quantified who is able to know, via sensors and digital devices, his number of daily steps, his heart rate, but also his number of friends or the popularity of the vacation photos he shares with his community. A me product finally, when social networks transform Internet users into self-entrepreneurs of their own image, of their own person, like what is commonly called new influencers; Internet users putting themselves on stage on the networks in order to obtain a certain form of social, or even economic, recognition.

In all these cases, the Internet user can find in digital a way to know themselves better, to realize themselves or even to emancipate themselves. But, at the same time, all the data generated by the activity of Internet users are captured and exploited by economic actors (including GAFAM are the showcase) for advertising and economic purposes, and which aim to predict user behavior, model it or even control it. If the potential derivatives of this exploitation of personal data for commercial purposes are already well known and debated in the literature (notably in the work of Shoshana Zuboff), the merit and originality of R. Brubaker's analysis is here to balance them with arguments tending to show the potentially liberating character of hyperconnection.

Populism versus democracy

Second paradox: digital hyperconnection reinforces populism (by promoting the circulation of false information and the expression of negative emotions) at the same time as technocracy (via analysis streamlined by massive database algorithms). In the chapter devoted to politics, R. Brubaker analyzes the consequences of hyperconnection on what he calls knowledge regimes (regimes of knowing), regimes of feeling (regimes of feeling) and government regimes (regimes of governance).

Knowledge regimes relate to the way in which citizens find out about politics and current affairs; the major consequence of hyperconnection here is the competition and above all the relativization of sources coming from legitimate or official institutions with an abundance of fake newsconspiracy theories and other alternative truths.

Concerning feeling regimes, the best known effect of hyperconnection is the tendency to express negative feelings (anger, hatred, indignation, scandal, etc.); effect reinforced by the very functioning of social networks.

the opposite of the regimes of knowledge and feeling, the regime of government is intended to be fundamentally dpolitis, technical. We are talking here about algorithmic governance, which aims to be a rational and optimized approach to decision-making, based on predictive analysis and machine learning techniques from huge databases (in the French case we could cite the example of Parcoursupwhich intends to rationalize the distribution of baccalaureate students in higher education, via centralization of data and the use of algorithms). The author clearly shows, however, that behind this veneer dpolitis many political choices are hidden, and that algorithms are never neutral (as shown by the work of Dominique Cardon in France in particular). But the originality of R. Brubaker's analysis here is to underline the tension between the populist derivatives of hyperconnection on one side (regimes of knowledge and feeling) and technocratic ones on the other (regimes of government). If populism and technocracy can appear a priori as antagonists (technocracy based on the belief in the superiority of decision-making experts or here algorithmic over those of the people, while populism on the contrary discredits bureaucratic logics and appeals to common sense popular), the author underlines, relying on the work of Christopher Bickerton and Carlo Invernizzi, that this paradox is only apparent, populism and technocracy coming together in the same rejection of intermediary bodies and in particular of political parties.

Other paradoxes, ambiguities and questions run through a dense and tight demonstration (171 pages), but always nuanced and cautious. Its primary ambition is to understand the complexity of a total social fact and its repercussions on society. To do this, R. Brubaker calls upon, in addition to a rich literature of specialized work on digital phenomena, canonical authors of the social sciences (Mauss, Foucault, Goffman, etc.) thus bringing his analyzes on digital hyperconnection into dialogue with broader considerations. on the functioning logics of the social world. This subject, however, we can regret a relatively weak consideration of sociological categories classics (such as social class, gender or breed) in the analysis which appears all the more surprising given the author's previous work and that the question of the contribution of hyperconnectivity to the reproduction of social inequalities is not addressed in a more frontal and central manner in the work. We can undoubtedly assume that Rogers Brubaker remained partly dependent on the prism individualistic of most of the work devoted to the sociology of digital technology in the United States, which often tends to approach the Internet user as an individual abstract of his social environment.