Social Movements, Digital Activism and Patterns of Global Contestation

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 16:00
Location: Hörsaal 26 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Breno BRINGEL, Institute of Social and Political Studies, Universidade Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Livia ALCANTARA, State University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This paper seeks to characterize and analyse the main patterns of contentious collective action used by social actors who acts globally during the latest decades and their respective appropriation of information and communication technologies. We suggested that since the fall of the Berlin Wall up until today four main patterns of global contestation have coexisted: the internationalisation of territorialized social movements (as the Zapatistas and the Landless movement), the transnational advocacy networks; the alter-globalization movement; and a more recent pattern associated with a geopolitics of ‘global outrage’. The discussion of these different patterns will be made utilizing a set of four variables: the spatialities (which includes the scales of action and the territory-network dialectic); the temporal profile (historicity and relationship to specific cycles of global mobilisation); the social actor (or subjects underlying each one of these patterns); and, finally, the repertoires of collective action used by them. The centrality of digital activism will be discussed in a transversal way in all of them and may contribute in two ways: firstly, revealing the key issues of the reconfiguration of transnational activism and internationalism in our current epoch of contention; secondly, suggesting some lessons learned from the effects of the appropriation of information and communication technologies within these patterns of global protests. In this regard, we point out some key challenges from contemporary social activism: the dynamics of diffusion of information, ideas and symbols; the redefinition of the scales of action and the scales of meanings; the transformation of solidarities, interactions and the organizational routines; and, at least, the ability to create autonomous spaces of communication.