From Indymedia to #Occupywallstreet and Anti-Austerity Protests in Europe: Three Generations of Digital Activism Logics

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 16:00-17:30
Location: Hörsaal 26 (Main Building)
RC47 Social Classes and Social Movements (host committee)

Language: English

Across the last few decades the logic of activism, and of digital activism in particular, has changed dramatically. We have experienced what could be regarded as three waves of protests from the early 1990s to the present. Each of these waves is connected both by the transformations in global capitalism and the rise of the digital age, while still displaying differences or rather developments in movement-based organizing. Together, however, we can conceive these three waves as part of one broader epoch of contention. Those particular waves of contention are: Global Social Justice, Occupy/Arab Spring, Syriza/Podemos. 
In this session, we propose to look at the logics of these waves of protest (or generations of digital activism) in order to explore their similarities and differences. The goal would be to mine history assuming a diachronic perspective, but more concretely to understand the strengths and weaknesses of this epoch of contention as we watch the current wave of struggle unfold. 
Some of the questions that will be tackled in the session are: 

  • How have capitalist transformations informed the emergence of the current epoch of contention and how has the activists relation to communication technologies evolved and shaped the logics of protests and mobilizations? 
  • Can we conceive of an underlying meta-logics of movement politics informing the waves of protests and how are they best conceptualized, similar as well as differently enacted? 
  • What has been the evolution of the role of alternative media in an oversaturated media environment where corporate social media are increasingly dominating the digital activism scenario? 
  • What are the challenges that social movements and their communication face when they crystallize into political parties? 
  • What lessons have we learned from the analysis of this epoch of contention and what are the future horizons of digital activism and protest?
Session Organizers:
Tod WOLFSON, Rutgers University, USA, Emiliano TRERE, Autonomous University of Queretaro, Mexico, Peter FUNKE, University of South Florida, USA and Paolo GERBAUDO, King`s College London, United Kingdom
Social Movements, Digital Activism and Patterns of Global Contestation
Breno BRINGEL, Universidade Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Livia ALCANTARA, State University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Rhizomatic Epoch of Contention: From the Zapatistas to the European Anti-Austerity Protests
Peter FUNKE, University of South Florida, USA; Tod WOLFSON, Todd Wolfson Rutgers University, USA
Anti-Austerity Social Movement Repertoires of Communication: A Diachronic Analysis of Protest Media Legacies in Southern Europe
Emiliano TRERE, Lakehead University, Canada; Sandra JEPPESEN, Lakehead University, Canada; Alice MATTONI, European University Institute, Italy
Digital Activism and Censorship in the Post-Gezi Era
Perrin OGUN EMRE, Kadir Has University, Turkey; Gulum SENER, Arel University, Turkey