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Observing Protest Organizations as Social Systems

The Popular Front Francisco Villa’s Media Diffusion Articulation of Political Subjectivities among Workers

Edgar Everardo Guerra Blanco

This article draws on social systems theory to explore a key phenomenon in social movements: organizations. The Frente Popular Francisco Villa (PFFV)—an organization related to the Urban Popular Movement in Mexico—is used as a case study. The research focuses on the internal dynamics that have steered this organization and propelled internal changes in some of its key aspects, especially media diffusion and propaganda strategy. Indeed, the media strategy employed by the organization have changed during the 30-yearhistory of the PFFV, not only on the basis of the programmatic goals and objectives of the organization, but also as a consequence of internal and external dynamics beyond the control of members and leaders. The main objectives of this analysis are threefold. First, I intend to uncover the main processes and structures that regulate the PFFV´s internal dynamic and changes over time. Second, I aim to analyze the relationships between these changes and the requirements of several organizations and actors in the environment of the PFFV. Finally, I aim to explore the impact of broader processes (such as the political system or the culture) on the organization's internal changes.

Open access

Volunteering as Protest

Against State Failure or the State Itself?

Jan Křeček

Although the Czech Republic (CR) is not a favorite destination nor even a transit country for migrants through Europe, the refugee crisis has materialized into a strict state policy of rejection. The CR rejects proposals for European solutions and detains and imprisons immigrants, most of whom are inadvertently arrived there. This preliminary refusal strategy is peculiar to both the political and media spheres (and public opinion) and is described in the opening sections of this work. However, the CR, is also a country in which the tally of immigrants is less than the number of Czechs citizens traveling beyond their national borders to help refugees congregating along the “Balkan Route”, where they frequently outnumber volunteers from other countries. This paper goes on to describe the development of these grassroots Czech volunteer organizations and activities in 2015. From the beginning it was characterized by spontaneity and a lack of hierarchy, with the Internet and social media playing a vital role during mobilization and organization. The methodological section defines how this sample was analyzed and the manner in which it was dealt. Section five summarizes the most important findings of the case study: (1) the results of a questionnaire survey among volunteers, (2) the results of a qualitative content analysis of their communication in social networks. Besides basic mapping steps (features of volunteer’s participation), the analysis attempts to capture motivations for volunteer’s participation. Comparison with selected motivation typologies emphasizes the protective (later the normative) motivation, on which the hypotheses are based regarding the dispute about the national identity of volunteering as an ideological, and therefore foreseeable, dispute.

Open access

What Really Matters in Creating Mass Mobilization, Classical Organization, or New Social Media?

A Comparative Case Study of the Mass Mobilization Process in France and South Korea

Jeong-Im Hyun

This article explores why people adopt different processes to participate in mass mobilizations, using the 2006 Anti-CPE (labor law) Movement in France and the 2008 Candlelight Movement against American Beef Imports in South Korea as case studies. In France, initiators and participants followed the ‘ready-made’ way: left-wing organizations led the whole process of mass mobilizations. In contrast, in South Korea, initiators came from ‘nowhere’: they were middle and high school students without any political organizations; participants were ‘tainted’ by the left-wing political line. The key finding of this study is that the levels of demarcation of political lines in people’s everyday life may explain this difference. In France, strong establishment of a political line in people’s everyday life brought fewer new actors, creating less surprise but a solid mobilization; in South Koreas, the less-established political line in people’s everyday life attracted more new actors, creating more surprise but ‘frivolous’ mobilizations.

Free access

Wesley Shumar and Susan Wright

This special issue focuses on new social media in higher education and the dialectical tension they generate between knowledge as information and knowledge as a creative, social process. There is a long history of using new media in higher education, and their introduction has often been associated with a renewed social purpose for the sector. Now that new social media such as Facebook, streamed lectures, TED Talks, MOOCs, Moodle and other Content Management Systems are becoming widespread, this special issue questions their potential impact on teaching and learning in higher education. Do these media fulfil some administrators’ dream of reorganising higher education in terms of economic rationality and inexpensive reusable learning modules? Or do they open up new spaces for creativity, critical thinking and social change?

Free access

From Risk to Resistance

Girls and Technologies of Nonviolence

Laurel Hart

From Mumbai to New York, and from Cape Town to Moscow, cell phones and other devices are becoming ubiquitous in people’s everyday lives alongside the use of various social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube. Despite their pervasiveness, the application of these technologies to addressing pressing global concerns such as violence toward girls and women (in universities, on the streets, in schools, and so on) is vastly under realized. Indeed, much of the work to date on mobile and social media in relation to such violence has been on its threats and harmful effects, particularly in the context of cyberbullying and other forms of online harassment (Hart and Mitchell 2015). But what are the possibilities for turning these technologies into technologies of nonviolence?

Free access

Textbooks and Beyond

Educational Media in Context(s) Simone Lässig

Simone Lässig

This article provides an introduction to the aims, methods, and interdisciplinary approach of this new journal, elucidating the traditions of international textbook research and the function of educational media as illuminating sources for various academic disciplines. Textbooks and curricula in particular, which are not only state-approved but also of a highly condensed and selective nature, are obliged to reduce the complexities of the past, present, and future onto a limited number of pages. Particularly in the humanities, which often deal with concepts of identity and portrayals that may be more open to interpretation, textbooks can become the subjects of controversial debate, especially in relation to societal shifts such as globalization and immigration. In this regard, this journal intends to illuminate the situations in which educational media evolve, including their social, cultural, political, and educational contexts. The emergence of new, particularly digital, educational media marks new modes of knowledge production. The Journal of Educational Media, Memory, and Society (JEMMS) invites analyses that reach beyond the printed page and even beyond the institution of the school itself.

Free access

Benjamin Abrams and Giovanni A. Travaglino

Social protest is not always a simple process. Social movements, activists, or political parties can attempt to change the status quo, but they do not often do so through a single, traceable process of contention. Instead, they encounter selective participation, community dynamics, dilemmas about how and where to spend their time, and interventions by governments and other elites that seriously impact their momentum. The articles in this issue assess these complicating phenomena, examining issues of system justification, local community responses to hate, the balancing of online and offline protest, and the role of government and media elites in circumventing the rise of protest movements.

Free access

Introduction

Envisioning Ethnography—Exploring the Meanings of the Visual in Research

Gerry Bloustien

Visual images are ubiquitous which, inevitably, is part of their appeal and their difficulty. As is the case with all sensory experience, the process of sight becomes naturalized for us, and it is easy to forget that how we interpret what we see is historically and culturally specific (Banks 2001). Similarly, the representations of what we see are influenced by our historical and cultural perspectives. In the forms of photographs, video, film, and new electronic media, these representations increasingly and apparently, often unproblematically, play a central role in the work of researchers, not just from anthropology, but also from a range of disciplines. As part of a broader ethnographic methodology, photography, film, and video have now been embraced by anthropology, sociologists, cultural studies, media studies, geographers, and other social scientists. The visual images are present in the form of cultural texts or they represent aspects of ethnographic knowledge and methodological tools. They can exist as the basis for the sites of social interaction amongst the informants or between the researcher and the researched. They can take the form of pre-existing images, such as television programs or contemporary or archival photographs and films (Banks 2001). It is hardly surprising, then, that visual images have become so important to the ethnographic endeavor. Yet, as Mac- Dougall laments above, relatively little has been written about how best to analyze and interpret the visual images, not only in anthropology, but indeed, in all of the social sciences.

Free access

Marco Giuliani and Erik Jones

The year 2009 was a period of uncertainty, during which the Italian

political world appeared to be floundering and in need of a compass.

As evidenced by the chronological overview, many events continued

to beleaguer the political and social life in Italy. Some, such as the

result of the European elections and the escalation of the economic

crisis and its repercussions, were foreseen or, in any case, predictable.

Others, including the numerous scandals and irregularities that

tarnished the political year, continuously feeding the mass media with

distractions and nurturing the public debate with less then edifying

themes, were less expected.

Free access

Anthropology

Its Importance and Implications for Policy and Practice in Pakistan

M. Sajjad Abro

A seminar on ‘Anthropology: Its Importance and Implications for Policy and Practice’ was collaboratively organised by the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, in the University of Sindh in Pakistan, and Anthropology in Action (Figure 1). The event was also supported by the civil society organisations Al-Mehran Rural Development Organization (AMRDO) and Dev-Con. The objective of the event was to create awareness among the public and the media regarding the importance and scope of anthropology and how anthropologists can better design social policies and interventions that have limited negative unintended consequences. The speakers were academic and practicing anthropologists who delivered lectures based on their personal extensive encounters with development in Pakistan.