ERMeCC Lunch Seminar

Thursday 20 Jan 2022, 12:00 - 13:00


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Our monthly ERMeCC lunch seminar series continues with two presentations on media and activism, taking place next Thursday, 20th January, 12:00 - 13:00 on Zoom. Please contact for more information.  

Slideshow activism on Instagram: Constructing the political activist subject 

Dr. Hester Hockin-Boyers and dr. Delia Dumitrica

This presentation introduces you to a new activist tactic popular on visual-based social media such as Instagram: slideshow activism. Using the case of a popular slideshow activist Instagram account, we outline the features of this activist tactic and its mobilizing appeal. The qualitative content analysis of a sample of 50 posts reveals that slideshow activism addresses its followers as individuals who are actively staying well-informed on the social justice dimension of a wide range of political issues, and are constantly engaged in self-transformation in order to become better citizens. This ideal, we argue, entrenches social justice as a core political value for civic engagement, and recommends a mix of argumentation and personal transformation as the everyday means for individuals to bring about political change. We further explore the consequences of this subject position for citizen engagement with politics.  

Technologies of last resort: The discursive construction of digital activism in WIRED magazine, 2010-2021

Victoria Balan and dr. Delia Dumitrica

From "the revolution will be tweeted" to "Facebook is destroying our democracy", the centrality of digital technologies to contemporary forms of activism has been simultaneously praised and challenged. In this presentation, we ask how digital activism has been constructed via public discourse. When, why and how are these technologies imagined as the solution for citizen engagement and participation in politics? By means of a discourse analysis of 69 articles published in the renowned technology magazine WIRED between 2010-2021, we uncover five discourses through which digital activism gains its political significance, namely: technology as a last resort; technology as a site of creativity; technology as an alternative to top-down structures; technology as a voice; technology as a double-edged sword. In zooming in onto the moment of citizen activation and by foregrounding aggregation as the most important aspect of political participation, these discourses are diverting attention from the question of political change and from the centrality of civic solidarity to the functioning of the polis.

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