The Return of Revolutionary Narratives and the Future of Revolution

by Guobin Yang Recently, the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association was held in Philadelphia. The theme of the meeting was “Great Transformations: Political Science and the Big Questions of Our Time.” This sounded like a call for the return of grand narratives. A return, because there was once a time for grand…

Digital Vigilantism as Critical Reinforcement of Law and Order

by Daniel Trottier A recent development in the area of digital media and social movements is the use of mediated visibility as a way to shame and deter targeted individuals. Recent examples include the global outrage Walter James Palmer faced after killing a lion in Zimbabwe, as well as groups in the United Kingdom and…

Social Movements and Media Technologies: Present Challenges and Future Developments Seminar Series (SoME Seminars)

The Social Movements and Media Technologies: Present Challenges and Future Developments Seminar Series (SoME Seminars) is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and jointly organised by the Centre for Global Media and Democracy (CGMD) at Goldsmiths University of London and the Centre on Social Movement Studies (COSMOS), Institute of Humanities and Social…

The Populist Turn of the 2011 Protest Wave

by Paolo Gerbaudo For anybody with some experience in social movements and the radical Left, the movements of 2011 have come as a real shock; refreshing for some and disturbing for others. They have been like an earthquake, putting into question ideas, tenets, attitudes that had for long been established in protest movements. From the…

Social Media and the Future of the Labour Movement

by Lina Dencik The use of social media platforms for campaigning and protests in recent years has illustrated some important aspects about the possibilities as well as the challenges of digital activism in the contemporary global political economy. Although little attention has been paid to the role of unions and workers’ organisations in recent uprisings,…

Samosas for Social Change? Food Activism and Media Ecologies

by Eva Giraud The title of this blog is a tribute to local Nottingham collective Veggies Catering Campaign, who – along with Brighton’s Anarchist Teapot – are two of the UK’s most well-known ‘campaign caterers’. This post isn’t focused purely on Veggies, though, but a long-standing food-activism campaign that some of their members have been…

Staying in the Spotlight: Strategically Adaptive Movements

by Julian Gottlieb A cadre of academics have reignited their hope and optimism about the future of political activism amidst a renaissance of social movement activity from the Arab Spring, to Occupy Wall Street; from Mexico’s Ayotzinapa protests, to the #BlackLivesMatter mobilizations. Let there be no equivocation; these movements have captured the public imagination and…

“Far from the Official Lights of Facebook Walls and Pages”: Backstage Activism and the Enduring Significance of Internal Communicative Dynamics within Digital Social Movements

by Emiliano Treré In 2012, after one year as a lecturer in Mexico, an unexpected event changed both the face of the country and the direction of my research. During the national elections in May, the #YoSoy132 movement emerged as a new social actor asking for transparent ballots, denouncing the manipulation of the Televisa media…

Paths of “Empowerment” Swept under the Starry Rug

by Marina Fuser Patricia Arquette’s speech upon receiving the Oscar for best supporting actress (Boyhood) was met by an enthusiastic round of applause, sighs and tears of joy by an audience that is rather favourable to gender equity. Nevertheless, the reception of this discourse involved much suspicion and skepticism in Feminist circles due to the…