Fuat Avni: The Reason Erdogan Bans Twitter?

Having more than 12 million users, Turkey was one of the leading countries in the world connected to Twitter. No more.

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Perceiving Twitter as a major platform for protesting his regime, Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered the blocking of the site. “Twitter schmitter,” said Erdogan, “we will wipe out all of these. The international community can say this, can say that. I don’t care at all.”

Twitter users in Turkey have divergent styles. Some will generally share news stories, others prefer direct interactive engagement with others. Few, however, use Twitter as a venue to publish their ideas. Instead of interacting, they primarily focus on sharing their story in a series of tweets, often numbered consecutively. Fuat Avni is one of them. Using a pseudonym, Fuat Avni stands out with an important feature that makes him unique: targeting Erdogan by revealing his everyday interactions. Continue reading

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For any Stata folks out there…

I wanted to let people know about a set of Stata resources that a graduate class of mine and I are putting together online: http://jearl.faculty.arizona.edu/node/19. I am teaching a graduate class on data management in Stata (so, no analytical stuff like a regular stats class, but rather how to program in Stata). The website linked above has the topics and readings from my syllabus and then student produced “resources” for the equivalent of each class day. These will continue to be posted across the semester so that someone could potentially use these materials to learn Stata programming where no course exists for them. Or, maybe you just want to brush up on a particular topic (e.g., regular expressions, post, loops) and want some help doing it. Or, maybe you wish your research assistant or students were better programmers and you encourage them to check this out. There are lots of ways to use these resources.

The resources a pretty awesome—my students have been doing an excellent job. There is a great YouTube video, some really great blog entries with examples, etc. If you are interested in brushing up on your Stata skills, check it out. If you wish this was about R, produce some materials and I will add them in. If you know about other cool links for a particular topic, send them my way and I will add them up!

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“Live at the People’s House”: Wisconsin’s Solidarity Sing Along

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Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a Solidarity Sing Along in Madison, Wisconsin.  The Sing Along began in March 2011 in protest of Governor Scott Walker’s budget repair bill, Act 10, which (among other controversial provisions) stripped collective bargaining rights from many of Wisconsin’s public sector workers.

Despite the frigid January weather, a group of about thirty singers met outside the state Capitol building.  Continue reading

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Nathan Schneider’s “Thank You Anarchy” and the Importance of “Being There”

Protest is a visceral experience. You hear the overwhelming sound of chanting, drumming, and shouting; get swept up in a sea of bodies in motion; and feel the butterflies that flutter in your stomach as you look at the line of riot police, imposing and unmovable, just a few short feet away from you. Despite this, we have a relative lack of first hand, ethnographic accounts in the sociology of social movements when compared to analysis of secondary sources or interview-based projects. Yet we know that part of what builds solidarity in a movement is participating in mass action. In other words: being there matters. This begs the question: could we “be there” more as researchers?  

I learned the importance of “being there” first hand as a student. I had already begun to read in the sociology of social movements, but nothing I read could have prepared me for my first mass protest, which I went to while studying the Global Justice Movement. Even the most dramatic of photographs or descriptions cannot adequately capture the rush of emotions dredged up through mass collective action. I have a strong memory of being at the 2001 protests against the FTAA on the U.S./Canada border in Buffalo, New York and listening to a speaker at a rally, when what seemed like thousands of protesters broke apart from the event and ran down the street in an impromptu march. Continue reading

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Social Trauma, Emotions, and Activism: Round 2

We are pleased to introduce a new round of posts for the essay dialogue on social trauma, reconciliation, and activism.  These new perspectives draw on a interesting array of cases—post-Katrina New Orleans, reconciliation in South Africa, and government repression in Italy—and offer new insights on this relevant topic.  Many thanks to our contributors.

Round 2 Contributions:
Fanie du Toit, Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (essay)
Andrea Hajek, University of Glasgow (essay)
Stephen F. Ostertag, Tulane University (essay)

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Trauma, Community and Reflection: Mandela’s Long Walk towards Solidarity with All South Africans

By Fanie du Toit

Like a stubborn tree growing from the crevice in a rock face, reconciliation has to take root and survive in adverse conditions where the very idea may seem counterintuitive. Although there is almost always a need for it, there is seldom a moment where conditions appear “right.”

It is hard therefore to envision reconciliation, not least while the fighting continues. Leaders will lament reconciliation’s absence, but in the same breath proclaim its total impossibility. “Desirable in principle, but not realistic,” they would say. It is therefore worth asking how it transpired that South Africa’s political leaders did in fact decide to adopt reconciliation as a guiding principle for activism towards peaceful, yet radical change. Much of their ability to turn hearts towards reconciliation hinged on dealing reflectively with the trauma resulting from three decades of brutal conflict with those they were seeking to recruit as fellow activists. Continue reading

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The Mobilizing Powers of Collective Traumas: A Role for Moralities and Emotions

By Stephen F. Ostertag

Scholarship examining the role of trauma, moralities, and emotions in explaining mobilizations is undergoing a renaissance (e.g., Goodwin, Jasper, and Polletta 2000, 2001; Goodwin and Jasper 2006; Flam and King 2007; Jasper 1998, 2011).  New questions on how people experience, understand, and [re]act to traumatic events and the role of morals and emotions in these developments will help uncover some of the dynamic and nuanced social processes that underscore mobilizations (Kurzman 2008).

David G. Ortiz and I have spent the past four years examining a variety of digitally-mediated mobilizations and civic participations that people organized and took part in in the wake of hurricane Katrina (Ortiz and Ostertag 2014). Continue reading

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