Who Can Still Afford to Do Digital Activism?
Exploring the material conditions of online mobilisation
Keywords:Social movements studies, digital inequalities, feminist studies, digital activism
Digital activism is now considered a widespread form of activism. Studies on its impact and use have proliferated. Most research into this phenomenon has tended to analyze the impact of digital technologies on action and activism. In contrast, this study explores the role of organizations and organizational structures, focusing on internal processes and the functioning of digital campaigning. Based on ethnographic observation and interviews with staff of online campaigning organizations, this paper presents findings on how digital communication and its logic can affect the organization’s internal processes. The paper challenges two established ideas: a) the idea of de-materialization of organizational structures from digital activism; b) that digital platforms tend to support the dissemination of opinions of previously marginalized actors. My fieldwork’s findings demonstrate that the reality in both cases is far more nuanced, with significant identifiable inconsistencies. This research shows that organizations and organizational structures have not de-materialized and that the material conditions of digital activism are key to better understanding this phenomenon and new forms of inequality it might generate.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Paola Pierri (Author)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.