Title: "Resistance of Resisters": Digital Activism and The
Transforming Social Movement Organization
Political activism traditionally built on sustained political
engagement and long-term membership in social movement organizations (SMOs) that coordinated protests and other forms of political expression. Conversely, current research characterizes digital activism as ad hoc, relying on spontaneous ties and temporal affinity networks. We extend this work by examining online activism in a traditional SMO. We find that social media detach the organization from its supporters and promote a shift from active to passive supporters. Although such changes seriously threaten the traditional SMO, we also find that digital activism enabled by social media can create opportunity structures that activate supporters. Through mutual interaction, a confluence of traditional and digital mobilization arises to bring the SMO closer to digital supporters. We discuss how a SMO can balance the volatile character of digital activism with sustained political engagement. The presentation also discusses how ideological debates can be cultivated in Facebook groups and in the process turn passive supporters to active ones.
(joint work of Sirkka Jarvenpaa and Lisen Selander)
7:15am to 8:30am