Imagined Solutions to Real Problems: How the Dutch government presented the corona-app as the solution to the COVID-19 crisis
Graaf, L. de
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Governments worldwide have enlisted technological solutions in the form of tracing apps to combat the pandemic. There is little proof of these apps actually working and contributing to ending the lockdown. The Dutch government has also suggested to start designing and implementing a corona-app. In doing so, the government has exposed a rhetoric of techno-solutionism in their press conferences, public documents and their first appathon. This research focuses on how the Dutch government frames the app as a solution to the “intelligent lockdown” while it was more so part of the political rhetoric. Using the concepts of techno-solutionism, technological imaginary and mediatisation, this research dissects the Dutch government’s rhetoric surrounding the app. This was done through the methods of close reading and discourse analysis. The research concludes that the Dutch government approached the usage of the corona-app in the combatting of the pandemic as an urgent, intelligent, efficient and legitimate solution. The analysis has thereby shown that the Dutch government displayed a determined techno-solutionist approach to combatting the pandemic and had disproportionate expectations of the effectiveness of the app. This is problematic since there is a disregard for alternative solutions and key human values. This development fits in multiple ongoing debates, those of technological solutionism, critical data studies and technological determinism vs. social constructivism.