From Black Lives Matter protests to Women’s Marches across the world, the global circulation of social justice causes such as racism, misogyny, or climate change has renewed questions about how digital technologies facilitate or hinder transnational connections between activists. The latest themed issue of the journal Review of Communication, co-edited by Dr. Delia Dumitrica, Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication, and dr. Giuliana Sorce, Eberhard Karls University Tübingen, asks how political causes circulate globally, what role digital technologies play, and ultimately, what the “transnational” means for seemingly universal causes, global collective identities, and activist practices.
Foregrounding the global circulation of political causes alongside the key role of digital technologies in contemporary activism, the contributions in the themed issue cover political democratization efforts, feminist organizing, anti-extractivism protests, and extradition activism. In their respective case studies, the authors provide insights into the significance of diasporic actors for regional protests, the involvement of international stakeholders in local causes, the importance of linking up with global movement publicity, and the expansion of activist networks to existing transnational organizations.
In their introduction to the special issue, the theme editors draw attention to the need for a more nuanced approach to the digital, able to take into account the relation between digital technologies and the wider media ecosystems. Importantly, the editors note the urgency of “recovering the importance of historical, political, and cultural contexts shaping the material circumstances within which citizens conceptualize the political usefulness of activism and are able to act on it."