[Air-l] Electronic Media in 21st Century Social Movements

andrew.herman at comcast.net andrew.herman at comcast.net
Mon Aug 11 07:26:03 PDT 2003

Dear Chuck:

There have been two books published in the last year or so that are a good 
place to start: 1)Future Active: Media Activism and the Internet by Graham 
Meikle (Routledge, 2002)and Cyberactivism: Online Activism in Theory and 
Practice edited by Martha McCaughey and Michael Ayers (Routledge, 2003). Both 
cover the most well-known articulations of the Internet as medium of 
communication and mobilization with social movements on the RL side of the 
screen (i.e. anti-globalization, Zapatistas).  I like the former book because 
it also address the WWW itself as a terrain for social movements with its own 
distinct identities, strategies, and tactics (i.e. Hactivism and Electronic 
Civil Disobedience). And since you asked for observations I will offer one:  it 
is very important to take an instrumental stance towards the relationship 
between "new media" and social movements, that is, media as something that 
either affects social movements from the outside or, conversely, new media as 
tool that social movements utilize to achieve this or that goal or objective.  
New media, like all media, can be constitutive of the very shape, identity and 
practices of social movements. I think the anti-globalization movement is very 
good example of the constuitive role of new media.

A couple of good web sites that will lead you to other examples are: 1) Citizen 
Lab at http://www.citizinlab.org.  Citizen Lab "is an interdisciplinary 
laboratory based at the Munk Centre for International Studies at the University 
of Toronto, Canada focusing on advanced research and development at the 
intersection of digital media and world civic politics" that is headed by Prof. 
Ron Deibert (you can eben see Prof. Deibert eat his lunch via web cam); 2)The 
Interactivist Info Exchange at http://slash.autonomedia.org.  Thef ormer, 
obviosuly, has a scholarly bent and the latter an activist one but neither is 
exclusively one or the other.

I am sure that others on the list will have many other suggestions as well.  
Good luck.

Andrew Herman

> For a chapter on 21st century social movements, I would welcome papers,
> bibliographies, crucial citations, or observations on how the
> availability and employment of electronic media have affected the
> organization and practices of recent social movements. I promise
> acknowledgments for items I use.
> Chuck T.
> --
> Charles Tilly
> Joseph L. Buttenwieser Professor of Social Science, Columbia University
> Office 514 Fayerweather Hall, letters and packages 413 Fayerweather
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