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Digital media and the personalization of collective action: Social technology and the organization of protests against the global economic crisis

Bennett, W. L., & Segerberg, A.
Information, Communication & Society, 14 (S. 770–799).
2011

Changes related to globalization have resulted in the growing separation of individuals in late modern societies from traditional bases of social solidarity such as parties, churches, and other mass organizations. One sign of this growing individualization is the organization of individual action in terms of meanings assigned to lifestyle elements resulting in the personalization of issues such as climate change, labour standards, and the quality of food supplies. Such developments bring individuals’ own narratives to the fore in the mobilization process, often requiring organizations to be more flexible in their definitions of issues. This personalization of political action presents organizations with a set of fundamental challenges involving potential trade-offs between flexibility and effectiveness. This paper analyses how different protest networks used digital media to engage individuals in mobilizations targeting the 2009 G20 London Summit during the global financial crisis. The authors examine how these different communication processes affected the political capacity of the respective organizations and networked coalitions. In particular, the authors explore whether the coalition offering looser affiliation options for individuals displays any notable loss of public engagement, policy focus (including mass media impact), or solidarity network coherence. This paper also examines whether the coalition offering more rigid collective action framing and fewer personalized social media affordances displays any evident gain in the same dimensions of mobilization capacity. In this case, the evidence suggests that the more personalized collective action process maintains high levels of engagement, agenda focus, and network strength.

Zitation (APA)

Bennett, W. L., & Segerberg, A. (2011). Digital media and the personalization of collective action: Social technology and the organization of protests against the global economic crisis. Information, Communication & Society, 14, 770–799.