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DIGITAL ACTIVISM IN THE VIRTUAL PUBLIC SPHERE, FROM SILENCE AND DISRUPTION TO CYBERACTIVISM 2.0: CYBERZAPATISTAS, ELECTROHIPPIES, AND GLOBAL VOICES.

Alfaro, Veronica (2009) DIGITAL ACTIVISM IN THE VIRTUAL PUBLIC SPHERE, FROM SILENCE AND DISRUPTION TO CYBERACTIVISM 2.0: CYBERZAPATISTAS, ELECTROHIPPIES, AND GLOBAL VOICES. In: Proceedings of the WebSci'09: Society On-Line, 18-20 March 2009, Athens, Greece. (In Press)

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Abstract

Cyberactivism, hacktivism, and a diversity of related concepts have been seen as the new politics of the Information Society, particular to the communicative environment of cyberspace. This paper explores the practice and evolution of cyberactivism by social movements that use cyberspace as an agora, a field of struggle, and ultimately as a virtual public sphere, through the comparison of three key moments that reflect the evolution from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0. To analyze how cyberactivism produces social and cultural changes, I first acknowledge that social action is articulated by communicative practices. First, I analyze the early stage of “strategic silences,” and the actions of the Electronic Disturbance Theater, the group that developed the virtual sit-in (a DDoS attack) as an action of electronic civil disobedience in 1998. Second, I analyze the struggles for acting in concert through the orchestration of the protests against the WTO in Seattle, in 1999. Finally, I explore later actions that provide a public space for engaging in discourse, debate, and communicative solidarity through the Global Voices project, which focuses not only on blogging, but also in practices of advocacy that are exemplified by digital activism related to the conflict in Burma (Myanmar) from August 2007 to date. Through this historical and comparative account of old and new practices and tools for digital activism, this paper suggests a sociological perspective to understand and contextualize cyberactivism and its social meaningfulness. While recognizing the much discussed danger of a “comfortable activism,” it also acknowledges the need of reformatting political activity in a way that is more suitable for a period of advanced modernity and a changing social model that is becoming more liquid, reflexive, and networked.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Uncontrolled Keywords:cyberactivism, web 2.0, cyberzapatistas, electrohippies, global voices
Subjects:Web Science Events > Web Science 2009
ID Code:174
Deposited By: W S T Administrator
Deposited On:24 Jan 2009 08:45
Last Modified:16 Mar 2009 23:42

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