Theme IV.2 New Urban Protest Cultures in the Era of Digital Social Networks

Friday, July 18, 2014: 10:30 AM-12:20 PM
Room: 311+312
RC21 Regional and Urban Development (host committee)

Language: English

The past few years have seen an increase in many novel forms of urban protest cultures worldwide making use of new digital communication technologies. Prominent examples are the protests in the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ cities and also the Occupy [Wall Street] and Right to the City movements, which had been organised on a global scale through the Internet and through social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook and other digital media. The use and adoption of mobile communication technologies entails the production of new space: along with the occupation of places, this production includes also mass gatherings and the temporary assembly of crowds in public city spaces that are, for the most part, (self-)organised by mobile phone users via text messaging, chat rooms and forums. Around the world and particularly in big cities, protests against Unequal Urban Worlds are taking the form of flash mobs (as happenings), smart mobs (setting political objectives) or carrot mobs (addressing environmental problems and consumer interests). The sudden stir and attention thus generated in a public location transforms the city into a stage for political campaigns and creative happenings of various kinds, allowing the appropriation of local public spaces. Events organised via telecommunications and social media help to raise awareness of local or global Unequal Urban Worlds issues on the spot through the “power of the mobile many” (Howard Rheingold). At the same time, new forms of collaboration and cooperation are emerging, producing new urban practices and social networks.
Session Organizer:
Martina LOW, Technical University of Berlin, Germany
Taking Place, Becoming Iconic: What It Takes for Urban Protests to Become Visible and Significant (Oral Presentation)
Dominik BARTMANSKI, Masaryk University, Czech Republic

Historic Heritage and Petitioning in the Context of the Run-up to International Summits in Russia (Oral Presentation)
Elena TRUBINA, Ural Federal University, Russia

Youth Protests in Baghdad: Acting in Intertwined Realities (Oral Presentation)
Annika HENRIZI, University of Marburg, Germany