Category Archives: Digital Media in Activism

This essay dialogue features the reactions of scholars and activists to Jennifer Earl and Katrina Kimport’s recent book, “Digitally Enabled Social Change: Activism in the Internet Age” (MIT Press, 2011).

Twitter vs. the Human Microphone

Frida Berrigan

A few months ago, I was at a peace conference in Barcelona (I know, some people have all the luck). It was organized by War Resisters International and brought together campaigners from all over the world to share information and analysis about war profiteering.

It was a fairly low-tech gathering. A lot of people had laptops and international cellphones and most of us needed little radios for translation, but it was at an old Salesian monastery crowded with greenery and little palazzos and very few of the presenters used that old Pentagon technology—the Powerpoint. Continue reading

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Point-and-Click Change? Understanding Social Movements in the Digital Era

Deana Rohlinger

We like to believe in the power of social movements. It is satisfying to think that a relatively small group of people can band together and change the world for the better. However, as Jennifer Earl and Katrina Kimport point out in their new book, Digitally Enabled Social Change, the role of social movements and the organizations that animate them are up for grabs in the 21st century. This observation may come as somewhat of a shock for students of social movements. We often think about collective action and social movements as synonymous with organization as the sinew binding the two conceptually. Earl and Kimport argue that this is not always the case. Instead, they suggest, that Internet Communication Technology (ICT) provides “affordances” that individuals and groups alike can leverage (with more or less skill) to achieve a goal. In this digital era, then, challenges to authorities can occur without social movement organizations and outside of social movements.

Conceptualizing ICT as offering affordances that can be leveraged Continue reading

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Filed under Digital Media in Activism, Essay Dialogues