520.5 The use of the body image as a strategy for engagement in social media

Friday, August 3, 2012: 11:33 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Tarcisio TORRES SILVA , Visual Arts, University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Campinas - SP, Brazil
The use of digital communication networks has been a key strategy in activist events involving demonstrations all over the world. Its utilization was evident in the media´s repeated publication of pictures taken on demonstrators´ mobile phones during the actions that have overthrown heads during the Arab Spring in 2011. In those countries, social network websites and mobile communication devices (phones and notebooks) were widely used in the organization of participants and in the recording of the events.  

Given the importance of the image in the contemporary society, it is intriguing to observe the way it was threaten by activists in the cases mentioned above. Images created by mobile devices can be highly meaningful to the audience. Besides their power in fulfilling emergency needs, substituting mass media broadcasting where it cannot or doesn´t want to be, they are invested with a high symbolic value able to activate new waves of mobilization.

In this work, it is intended to analyze these images taking into account the way the body is used to create them and how it is represented in order to provoke engagement. Since the use of social media in protests caught the attention of the press and broadcasting media in 2009, during demonstrations in Iran against the reelection of the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, it can be noticed a strong connection between the contents circulating through these tools and the body. In Tunisia, Egypt and Libya the same is observed with a series of strategies connecting the body image with participation by means of communication technologies.