Political Research Exchange

Social Movements in the Digital Sphere

Civil Society
Cyber Politics
Interest Groups
Social Movements
Political Sociology
Social Media
Panel Number
Panel Chair
Jasmin Fitzpatrick
Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
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13/07/2016 09:00
Building: Lossi 36 Room: 204
Social movements are an unconventional form of political participation. In the centre of a movement is a status quo that participants intend to change. Everybody who wants to participate is able to participate. The hierarchy is low and based on grassroots. Participants often act spontaneously and short term. Many of these characteristics of social movements remind us of the characteristics of the internet. Modes of online participation might seem especially attractive to activists in social movements. An important factor was the success of social media. Social media blur the difference between content producers and consumers. Almost anybody with a smartphone is able to quickly post content, link pictures and interact with the online community. This change in communication made it possible for activists to coordinate their actions even better.
It is hard to imagine times when social movements existed without adherents posting pictures online, calling for protests and coordinating via social media channels.
Social movements online open many possibilities for scientific engagement. A first set of questions regards the activists: Who are online activists? Why do activists participate online? Are the costs lower compared to offline activism? Does online activism occur more often in democracies than in other regimes? A second set of questions concerns the content or policies: Is online activism popular in certain policy fields, e.g. human rights or environmental issues? Are forms of online activism especially effective in a certain policy field? A third set of questions deals with the forms of online activism: What is online activism? Is a certain form preferred by a certain kind of actor? How do activists use apps/social media to mobilize crowds?
And more general: Online activism OR offline activism? Online activism AND offline activism? Does online replace offline? Do activists employ strategies when to use online/offline activism?
We are looking forward to papers that engage with these fascinating aspects of internet and politics.

Paper List

Digitality, Visual Rhetoric and Affect Circulation in Contemporary Social Movements View Paper Details
Just Slacktivism? Forms and Motives of Online Activism View Paper Details
The Role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in the Advancement in the Lives of Ethiopian Immigrant-Activists in Israel View Paper Details
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"...the good of man must be the objective of the science of politics" - Aristotle

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