Global Perspectives on Social Media Activism

Thomas Poell and José Van Dijck, both media scholars and professors at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, have published a new article. Their piece, “Constructing Public Space: Global Perspectives on Social Media and Popular Contestation,” appeared in volume 10 of the International Journal of Communication. The article presents an introductory overview to the journal’s special section on social media activism, which features cases including the Black Lives Matter movement in the USA, LGBTQ discourse during the 2014 World Pride festival in Toronto, Canada, environmental protests in China, and the 2011 uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa. Reflecting on the cases above, the authors assess how digital media is constructed, contested and contextualized among activists, citizens and political institutions. The authors conclude that while the “connection between social media and activism seems natural, these media are not designed to facilitate activism,” observing that there are discrepancies between the interests and objectives of activists, states and social media corporations. The full article is available here

Photo by Jake Stimpson | CC BY 2.0


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