The Logic of Connective Action

Digital Media and the Personalization of Contentious Politics

The Logic of Connective Action

The Logic of Connective Action shows how political action is coordinated and power is organized in communication-based networks, and what political outcomes may result.

Affective Publics

Sentiment, Technology, and Politics

Affective Publics

Over the past few decades, we have witnessed the growth of movements using digital means to connect with broader interest groups and express their points of view. These movements emerge out of distinct contexts and yield different outcomes, but tend to share one thing in common: online and offline solidarity shaped around the public display of emotion. Social media facilitate feelings of engagement, in ways that frequently make people feel re-energized about politics. In doing so, media do not make or break revolutions but they do lend emerging, storytelling publics their own means for feeling their way into events, frequently by making those involved a part of the developing story. Technologies network us but it is our stories that connect us to each other, making us feel close to some and distancing us from others. Affective Publics explores how storytelling practices facilitate engagement among movements tuning into a current issue or event by employing three case studies: Arab Spring movements, various iterations of Occupy, and everyday casual political expressions as traced through the archives of trending topics on Twitter. It traces how affective publics materialize and disband around connective conduits of sentiment every day and find their voice through the soft structures of feeling sustained by societies. Using original quantitative and qualitative data, Affective Publics demonstrates, in this groundbreaking analysis, that it is through these soft structures that affective publics connect, disrupt, and feel their way into everyday politics.

The Logic of Internationalism

Coercion and Accommodation

The Logic of Internationalism

Internationalism is the view that institution-building and peaceful cooperation will make peace and security prevail in a system of independent states. This book examines this controversial topic and discusses whether such a view is realistic or whether international relations are typically characterised by tension and war. Kjell Goldmann seeks to examine the plausibility of internationalism under present-day conditions. A theory of internationalism is outlined and is shown to have two dimensions: one coercive (to enforce the rules and decisions of international institutions) and one accommodative (to avoid confrontation by means of mutual understanding and compromise). Problematic features of the theory are then considered in detail: the assumption that all international cooperation tends to inhibit war, and the tension inherent in the joint pursuit of coercion and accommodation.

Social Movements and Their Technologies

Wiring Social Change

Social Movements and Their Technologies

Now in paperback for the first time, Social Movements and their Technologies explores the interplay between social movements and their 'liberated technologies'. It analyzes the rise of low-power radio stations and radical internet projects ('emancipatory communication practices') as a political subject, focusing on the sociological and cultural processes at play. It provides an overview of the relationship between social movements and technology, and investigates what is behind the communication infrastructure that made possible the main protest events of the past fifteen years. In doing so, Stefania Milan illustrates how contemporary social movements organize in order to create autonomous alternatives to communication systems and networks, and how they contribute to change the way people communicate in daily life, as well as try to change communication policy from the grassroots. She situates these efforts in a historical context in order to show the origins of contemporary communication activism, and its linkages to media reform campaigns and policy advocacy.

How the Internet Shapes Collective Actions

How the Internet Shapes Collective Actions

After a Facebook rebellion in Egypt and Twitter protests in Turkey, the internet has been proclaimed as a globe-shifting, revolutionizing force that can incite complex social phenomena such as collective actions. This book critically assesses this claim and highlights how internet use can shape mobilizing processes to foster collective actions.

The Social Fact

News and Knowledge in a Networked World

The Social Fact

How the structure of news, information, and knowledge is evolving and how news media can foster social connection. While the public believes that journalism remains crucial for democracy, there is a general sense that the news media are performing this role poorly. In The Social Fact, John Wihbey makes the case that journalism can better serve democracy by focusing on ways of fostering social connection. Wihbey explores how the structure of news, information, and knowledge and their flow through society are changing, and he considers ways in which news media can demonstrate the highest possible societal value in the context of these changes. Wihbey examines network science as well as the interplay between information and communications technologies (ICTs) and the structure of knowledge in society. He discusses the underlying patterns that characterize our increasingly networked world of information—with its viral phenomena and whiplash-inducing trends, its extremes and surprises. How can the traditional media world be reconciled with the world of social, peer-to-peer platforms, crowdsourcing, and user-generated content? Wihbey outlines a synthesis for news producers and advocates innovation in approach, form, and purpose. The Social Fact provides a valuable framework for doing audience-engaged media work of many kinds in our networked, hybrid media environment. It will be of interest to all those concerned about the future of news and public affairs.

Technological Determinism and Social Change

Communication in a Tech-Mad World

Technological Determinism and Social Change

The aim of this book is to shed new light on this theoretically and practically significant issue, and questions the role of technology and culture in social change. It challenges us to reconsider and rethink the impact of new information and communication technologies on civil society, participatory democracy and digital citizenship in theoretical and methodological contributions, through the analysis of specific cases in Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, China, Colombia, Kenya, Netherlands and the United States. Access to information and communication technologies is a necessity, and the importance of access should not be trivialized, but a plea for digital literacy implies recognizing that access is the beginning of ICT policies and not the end of it. Digital literacy requires using the Internet and social media in socially and culturally useful ways aimed at the inclusion of everybody in the emerging information/knowledge society. Technology matters, but people matter more.

Democracy's Fourth Wave?

Digital Media and the Arab Spring

Democracy's Fourth Wave?

Did digital media really "cause" the Arab Spring, or is it an important factor of the story behind what might become democracy's fourth wave? An unlikely network of citizens used digital media to start a cascade of social protest that ultimately toppled four of the world's most entrenched dictators. Howard and Hussain find that the complex causal recipe includes several economic, political and cultural factors, but that digital media is consistently one of the most important sufficient and necessary conditions for explaining both the fragility of regimes and the success of social movements. This book looks at not only the unexpected evolution of events during the Arab Spring, but the deeper history of creative digital activism throughout the region.

Beyond WikiLeaks

Implications for the Future of Communications, Journalism and Society

Beyond WikiLeaks

The 2010 release of US embassy diplomatic cables put WikiLeaks into the international spotlight. Revelations by the leaks sparked intense debate within international diplomacy, journalism and society. This book reflects on the implications of WikiLeaks across politics and media, and on the results of leak journalism and transparency activism.