Literature List

This list represents some of the most interesting articles and books I’ve come across that deal with social media and radical politics. I thought it would make sense to share it rather than keep it hidden away in a folder somewhere. I’ll update it regularly as my research goes on, but if you have anything that you think should be added to the list, please let me know. I hope it’s useful.

Each entry on the list includes the full details of the book or article, my own keywords for sorting the entries and often a quotation or two from the piece that I thought was representative. When I have more time I’ll include links to articles and books as well as to author homepages or academia.edu profiles where possible.

To search the list, have a look through the keyword list below and use the find function on your browser to search for the keywords you’re interested in.

Last Updated 22/01/13

Keywords: Alternative Media, Arab Spring, Blackberry, Blocking, Censorship, Clicktivism, Collaboration, Communication, Community, Crowd, Dialectic, Egypt, Facebook, Flash Mobs, The Guardian Project, Hashtag, Horizontal Decision Making, Indignados, Informal Hierarchy, Kony2012, Listservs, Lorea, Materiality, Mediation, Mobilisation, Multitude, n-1, Networks, Northern Ireland, Occupy, PiratePad, Protest, Riots, Scholarship/Academia, Self-Affirmation, Social Media Design, Spain, Spectatorship, Strategy, Surveillance, Swarms, Tactics, Technological Determinism, Traditional Media, Twitter, UK Riots

2010

  • Kaulingfreks, Ruud and Samantha Warren (2010) ‘SWARM: Flash Mobs, Mobile Clubbing and the City’, Culture and Organization, 16(3), 211-227
    • Swarms, Flash Mobs, Community, Networks, Multitude

2011

  • Baker, Stephanie Alice (2011) ‘The Mediated Crowd: New Social Media and New Forms of Rioting.’ Sociological Research Online, 16(4).
    • UK Riots, Blackberry, Mediation, Crowd, Networks
      • “while new social media contributed to the form and effect of the riots, they were not the initial cause of the civic unrest – a Blackberry handset does not cause one to riot” (2.4)
  • Hirsch, Ted (2011) More Than Friends: Social and Mobile Media for Activist Organizations. In: Marcus Foth (ed.) From Social Butterfly to Engaged Citizen: Urban Informatics, Social Media, Ubiquitous Computing, and Mobile Technology to Support Citizen Engagement. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 135-49.
    • Crabgrass, Social Media Design
      • ‘Placing activism at the center of technology design highlights new requirements and leads to new features that are absent from tools designed to serve a more general audience.’ (148)
  • Howard, Philip N., Agarwal, Sheetal D. and Hussain, Muzammil M. (2011) ‘Why Do States Disconnect Their Digital Networks? Regime Responses to the Political Uses of Social Media,’ The Communication Review, 14(3), 216-32
    • Arab Spring, Egypt, Censorship, Blocking
  • Khondker, Habibul Haque (2011) ‘Role of New Media in the Arab Spring,’ Globalizations, 8(5), 675-679.
    • Arab Spring, Traditional Media, Technological Determinism
  • Leivrouw, Leah A. (2011) Alternative and Activist New Media. Cambridge: Polity.
    • Networks, Mediation, Alternative Media
      • ‘networked communication technologies have allowed movements to shift from relatively centralized, hierarchical organizational structures to highly decentralized, loosely affiliated contingent networks that link a wide variety of groups, actors, and interests without imposing a single dominant agenda or program of action.’ (175)
  • Reilly, Paul (2011) ‘“Anti-social” Networking in Northern Ireland: Policy Responses to Young People’s Use of Social Media for Organizing Anti-social Behavior,’ Policy and Internet, 3(1), Article 7.
    • Networks, Riots, Surveillance, Northern Ireland
  • The Guardian (2011) Reading the Riots. London : Guardian Books.
    • Blackberry, UK Riots, Twitter
      • “Contrary to widespread speculation at the time, the social media sites Facebook and Twitter were not used in any significant way by rioters. In contrast, the free messaging service available on Blackberry phones – known as ‘BBM’ – was used extensively to communicate, share information and plan in advance of riots.” (4)
      • “Everyone in Edmonton enfield wood green everywhere in north link up at enfield town station at 4 o clock sharp!!!! Start leaving ur yards n linking up with your niggas. Fuck da feds, bring your ballys and your bags trollys, cars vans, hammers the lot!!” (30)
  • Wang, Yefan, Mark Cannon, Pauline Vereker and Kayleigh Smith (2011). The Use of Social Media Within the London Riots 2011. Mapping Socio-technical Issues. http://verekerp.richie.idc.ul.ie/Finished%20Project%20pdf%27s/AssignmentFinalPDF.pdf [12 August 2013]
    • UK Riots, Blackberry, Facebook, Twitter, The Guardian Project

2012

  • Bratich, Jack (2012). The Rise of The Flashpublics. My Little Kony, Countrepunch. URL: http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/03/13/my-little-kony/ [16 August 2012]
    • Kony2012, Spectatorship, Clicktivism, Flash Mobs
      • ‘K-12 functions as a counter-radicalization program, no longer focused on American Jihadists, but on domestic dissenters (like anarchists classified by the FBI as one of four types of domestic terrorists). Youth are dissuaded from seeing in their own neighborhoods and local organizations the opportunity to get involved in street activism and direct action in which they also shape the goals. Instead, they are routed into a heavily pre-organized package, complete with easy heroes/enemies and a game-like scenario.’
  • Charnock, Greig, Thomas Purcell and Ramon Ribera-Fumaz (2012). ¡Indígnate!: The 2011 Popular Protests and the Limits to Democracy in Spain. Capital & Class, 36(3), 3-11.
    • Indignados, Spain, Twitter, Technological Determinism
  • Fuchs, Christian (2012). Social Media, Riots, and Revolution. Capital & Class, 36(3), 383-91.
    • Blackberry, UK Riots, Arab Spring, Egypt, Technological Determinism, Dialectic
      • ‘communication technologies do not cause riots, revolutions, or rebellions; but rather discontented people will make use of all means necessary and available, including communication technologies, in order to achieve their goals.’ (389)
      • ‘The Egyptian revolution was a revolution against capitalism’s multidimensional injustices, in which social media were used as a tool of information and organisation, but were not the cause of the revolution.’ (389)
  • Gerbaudo, Paolo (2012) Tweets and the Streets. Social Media and Contemporary Activism. London: Pluto.
    • Twitter, Facebook, Indignados, Occupy, Arab Spring, Strategy, Tactics, Informal Hierarchy
      • ‘I do not think that leaders (…) are betraying their movements’ ideals. On the contrary, I think that it is the ideals, and in particular the ideology of “horizontalism”, that is “betraying” activists by being incapable of capturing empirically the gist of the actual practices taking place on the ground.’ (165)
  • Jurgenson, Nathan (2012). When Atoms Meet Bits: Social Media, the Mobile Web and Augmented Revolution. Future Internet, 4, 83-91.
    • Occupy, Facebook, Twitter, Technological Determinism, Dialectic
      • ‘Our offline lives drive whom we are Facebook-friends with (as PEW data highlights) and what we post about. Our offline histories, social-locatedness in various structures, demographics, epistemological standpoints, etc. all influence how we behave online. And what happens on Facebook influences how we experience life when we are not logged in and staring at some glowing screen. For example, social media users are being trained to experience the world always as a potential photo, tweet, check-in or status update. The logic of social media sites and smart phone technologies fundamentally influence how we experience reality even when offline.’ (85)
  • Juris, J. (2012). Reflections on #Occupy Everything. Social Media, Public Space, and Emerging Logics of Aggregation, American Ethnologist, Vol. 39 No. 2, p. 259-279.
    • Occupy, Networks, Listservs
      • ‘global justice movements during the late 1990s and 2000s were characterized by a pervasive cultural logic of networking that arose as activists began to use digital media. This logic entailed a set of embodied social and cultural dispositions shaped by informational capitalism that oriented actors toward (1) building horizontal ties and connections among diverse, autonomous elements (e.g., movements, organizations, groups, etc.); (2) the free and open circulation of information; (3) collaboration via decentralized coordination and directly democratic decision making; and (4) self-directed networking.’ (266)
  • Juris, J. and M. Razsa (2012). Introduction: Occupy, Anthropology and the 2011 Global Uprisings, Cultural Anthropology. URL: http://culanth.org/?q=node/641 [06 August 2012]
    • Occupy, Strategy, Mobilisation
  • Maeckelbergh, M. (2012). Horizontal Decision Making Across Time and Place, Cultural Anthrpology. URL: culanth.org/?q=node/645 [06 August 2012]
    • Horizontal Decision Making, Indignados, Spain
      • ‘In each location there is a division of labor created by setting up smaller groups of people (referred to by different names: working groups, comisiones, etc.) to organize the everyday practicalities of an occupation or to help solve the problems people are facing like housing evictions, homelessness, lack of health care, no access to education or food. These working groups act autonomously from each other but are in continuous communication, coming together every so often for a general assembly, a “spokescouncil” (meeting of just one or two members of all the different groups) or, in Catalonia, the inter-barrio meeting (a meeting of people from the different neighbourhood assemblies). These meetings are spaces where proposals are put forward and either consented or voted upon (usually with the need for at least 90% in favour of a proposal) or spaces where information is just shared as part of a collective learning process where people take action themselves in their own neighborhoods, but bring the lessons they learn and the problems they face to larger meetings for feedback from others, to learn from elsewhere, and to teach from experience.’
  • Mason, Paul (2012) Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere. The New Global Revolutions. London: Verso.
    • Facebook, Twitter, Occupy, Arab Spring, Networks
      • ‘… the ability to form connections away from the old hierarchical channels of the past. In each technology, the “node” – or individual – has been empowered at the expense of the hierarchical central core, which is the state or corporation – or even the tribe.’ (133)
      • ‘What happens is that ideas arise, are immediately “market tested”, and then are seen to either take off, bubble under, institute themselves into the mainstream, or, if they are deemed no good, disappear.’ (150)
  • Mattoni, A. (2012). Beyond Celebration: Towards a More Nuanced Assessment of Facebook’s Role in Occupy Wall Street, Cultural Anthropology. URL: http://culanth.org/?q=node/641 [06 August 2012]
    • Facebook, Occupy, Informal Hierarchy
      • ‘Activists posted a diverse range of materials on the Facebook group: information about forthcoming meetings, minutes of general assemblies, working group proposals, updates about the campsite, and announcements of protest actions.’
  • Milburn, Keir (2012) The August Riots, Shock and the Prohibition of Thought. Capital and Class, 36(3), 401-9.
    • Riots, Social Media
      • ‘if organisation and collective analysis are the best shock absorbers, what forms of political organisation might enable social movements to respond to shock with opne rather than closed effects?’ (406)
  • Murthy, Dhiraj (2012). Towards a Sociological Understanding of Social Media: Theorizing Twitter. Sociology, 46(6), 1059-73.
    • Twitter, Networks, Scholarship/Academia, Communication, Self-affirmation
      • ‘For active users of Twitter, posting tweets is part of their identity maintenance and the constancy of active Twitter users confirms this relationship or, as a Cartesian aphorism: I tweet, therefore I am.’ (1063)
  • Postill, J. (2012). Participatory Media Research and Spain’s 15M Movement, Cultural Anthroplogy. URL: http://culanth.org/?q=node/644 [06 August 2012]
    • Indignados, Spain, Facebook, PiratePad, Collaboration
      • ‘I once shared via Facebook what I thought was an improved version of a passage from the English translation of the DRY manifesto. In a matter of minutes, another user replied with what we both agreed was a better translation, which I duly forwarded to the manifesto team.’
  • Vallina-Rodriguez, Narseo et al. (2012). Los Twindignados: The Rise of the Indignados Movement on Twitter. 2012 ASE/IEEE International Conference on Social Computing and 2012 ASE/IEEE International Conference on Privacy, Security, Risk and Trust.
    • Twitter, Indignados, Spain, Hashtag
      • ‘The findings of our analysis are fourfold:
        • We found that the majority of the election-related tweets expressed an alternative political orientation outside the traditional left-right political spectrum.
        • Our analysis showed that mainstream political activity on Twitter was overshadowed by that of alternative forces.
        • We observed that Twitter activity closely followed over time the events of the protests, in particular displaying an explosion of interest with the establishment of the first protest camps.
        • We analyse where tweets were sent from in order to grasp the spatial properties of Twitter activity, and found that the protest movement was far from being a localized phenomenon, although Madrid clearly remained the centre.’ (496)

 2013

  • Feigenbuam, Anna (2013) Resistant Matters: Tents, Tear Gas and the “Other Media” of Occupy. Communication and Critical/Culture Studies, 0(0), 1-10.
    • Occupy, Materiality, Protest, Communication
      • ‘These objects – the Maalox antacid, the gas mask, the goggles – become stickier and stickier with meaning as protesters reorient themselves toward what their bodies – andthese objects – can do.’ (8)
      • ‘the objects and infrastructures that render the protest camp unique from other modes of place-based activism are inseperable from the political communication of a camp or occupation.’ (8)
  • Micó, Josep-Lluís and Andreu Casero-Ripollés (2013) Political Activism Online: Organization and Media Relations in the Case of 15M in Spain. Information, Communication and Society, 0(0), 1-14.
    • Indignados, n-1, Lorea
      • ‘Web 2.0 puts people at the heart of the communication process and promotes user-centric innovation.’ (5)
      • ‘One of the defining characteristics of the 15M movement is the combination of online political activism, carried out through an intensive use of social networks and websites, and offline activities, such as assemblies or protest camps.’ (6)
  • Tufekci, Zeynep and Deen Freelon (2013). Introduction to the Special Issue on New Media and Social Unrest. American Behavioral Scientist, 57(7), 843-7.
    • Technological Determinism, Dialectic, Scholarship/Academia
      • ‘it no longer makes sense to ask if digital technologies will exercise influence; rather, we can and should be looking at how and, also crucially, through which mechanisms. It also makes little sense to ask if “the revolution will be tweeted”—the answer is yes, since Twitter and similar technologies are now integral components of the formation of the global public sphere. The more important questions are about how, by whom, to what effect, and how these new media alter the information ecology. Neither is it particularly helpful to ask if Twitter alone can bring about revolutions because neither Twitter nor any other digital communication tool exists in a vacuum, and multiple factors have always been involved in enacting—or repressing—social change. Good scholarship should take this complex interplay into account as well as providing deeper analysis of different components of this complicated, intertwined mix.’ (843-4)
  • Wolfsfeld, Gadi, Elad Segev and Tamir Sheafer (2013). Social Media and the Arab Spring: Politics Comes First. The International Journal of Press/Politics, 18(2), 115-137.
    • Arab Spring, Facebook, Technological Determinism
      • ‘Social media are important because they can provide information and images that motivate people, they allow groups to organize and mobilize much more efficiently than in the past, and they allow protesters to convey messages to the outside world—all of which have the potential to mobilize third parties into the conflict (Bennett 2006; Earl and Kimport 2011; Hussain and Howard 2012; Shirky 2011; Tufekci and Wilson 2012). Social media should be seen as facilitators of protest rather than causes.’ (119-20)
      • ‘The argument we are making here is that political change (such as the initial protests associated with the Arab Spring) leads to changes in the use of the social media (e.g., more people signing up and using social media for political content), which can lead to further changes in the political environment (such as more people participating in protests).’ (121)

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