Introduction: The Dynamics of Digital Communication in the Philippines: Legacies and Potentials

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This special issue brings together six research articles that speak to the dynamics of digital communication in the Philippines, a country firmly located in the global geography of the digital economy and an early adopter and innovator in mobile communication. Increasingly, the rise of digital platforms is spurring on new business models and applications that find a wide range of appropriations in a developing economy with a high level of communication skills and a high level of inequality. These dynamics have, in turn, fuelled the popularity of social media and the populism that has gained international attention and, more critically, taken the country into uncharted political terrain. We introduce this Special Issue by taking stock of the legacies and potentials of digital communication in the country and highlighting how the articles sustain and extend past conversations. Drawing from the articles that cover a range of topics (entertainment, intimacy, labour, journalism and politics, scandals and pornography), we identify three overlapping themes that capture the socio-technical dynamics of digital communication in the Philippines: (1) how digital communication is emplaced in material, social and structural conditions; (2) the potentials of networked publics and communication; and (3) the convertibility of capitals and emergence of new competencies. These dynamics and potentials point to the contradictions, continuities and changes that relate to Philippine modernity in the context of global digital capitalism.