'The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted: Reconsidering the Mediascape of Occupy Wall Street'

Series Name Digital Media Research Group Seminar
Speaker Dr. Amanda Earley
Type Lectures & Talks
When 03 Feb 2015, 04:30PM - 06:00PM
Venue Bankfield House Lecture Theatre
Open To Public
Ticket Price Free
For Bookings Contact Alison Harvey- ah463@le.ac.uk
Over the past two decades, the debate on the relationship between social media and activism has raged from neo-Ludditism to cyber-utopianism. This presentation reconsiders this discussion within the context of the original Occupy Wall Street encampment in New York City. Inspired by news reports which echoed traditional cyber-utopian narratives, this study endeavoured to examine the media practices of activists in situ. Here, I found that a simple infrastructural issue–the more or less complete lack of electricity at the protest site–largely structured the media practices available to and eventually chosen by the activists. In turn, this constraint shaped the culture, organisation, and goals of the movement. Specifically, sustaining a community and creating an alternative economy on site became ends in themselves, and seemingly anachronistic media practices like pamphleteering became essential to furthering the interests of the organisation. Indeed, an embedded perspective reveals an incredibly diverse system of communications media used by the movement. The presentation seeks to theorise these findings and advance the debate with recourse to new work on democracy, community, and space within political philosophy. Ultimately, the project raises questions not only about the connections between new media and radical politics, but also concerning the methods used to produce evidence in this debate.

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