Can be found here!
Presentation from last week can be found HERE!
I actually found the conclusions of this article to be quite intuitive. It seemed natural to me that those who were not emotionally or somehow otherwise invested in the movement would not go on to create their own Social Movement Organization.
It relates back to the story I told in one of the early classes of the semester.
I often talk to the people on the corners trying to get donations from those passing by for their organization.While I never have any money to give, I always feel bad about rejecting them, so I often stop to chat or say “hey thanks for standing out here!” (even though I now know they are simply a product of resource mobilization and are often paid to be out there)
On one occasion, the particular gentleman standing out in the cold was initially rather aggressive in speaking with me. When I told him I had no money but would be okay with donating some time and volunteering if they needed anyone (I really cannot hand out rejection…I’d prefer to compromise!) he explained to me that he ws actually paid to be out there. He also explained that there are some people who actually make a commission on how many people/monthly donations they are able to obtain, but he explained that he received an hourly wage, and that it was not a bad gig. I did not ask him too many questions about it, but he said something to the extent of “so it does not matter to me whether you give or not.” This led me to believe he was not really an active participant in the organization he was pushing on others. (It was either The Red Cross or a Children’s Charity.)
When I finally said goodbye, I felt he had made it clear that he as getting paid regardless of the outcome, and I think that’s why, going into this article, professional SMO workers (those paid to be there) did not carry any connotations of being passionate about their work (though I am certain there are cases that would prove me wrong).
One question that did arise after reading the article was: Does the professionalization of the pro-choice movement make the protesting less effective?
To clarify, I feel that the professionalization means that protests must be set in advance and must gather the proper permits. Because of this, a protest is planned much in advance, and thus, easily avoided by people who do not support the movement. On the other hand, an informal organization can quickly gather a group and have their people protest and they can be in the way (and being in the way means getting noticed). I guess the question is: are impromptu protests better than planned in advance? The answer is probably “it depends.”
Nathalie discusses her parents’ experiences with the Miami FTAA protests we saw in class. While her mother did not have a lot to say about the subject, her father remembered being quite annoyed by the inconveniences the protests made for him. Nathalie’s father has a history with South America, so it was odd that he did not give the protests more attention; he had been affected by the media framing the protests in a negative light. She concludes by stating that the protests will be remembered most for how the media and police handled the situation.
Molly begins with McPhail’s four categories “the ‘traditional public forum,’ the ‘limited’ or ‘designated’ public forum,’ the ‘nonpublic forum,’ and private property.” private company, we had the right to determine what speech content we wanted hosted on our privately owned servers. The First Amendment only extends to the actions of the government with regards to he abridgment of free speechI would argue that there are no public fora on the internet.Right now, digital protest tactics, digital direct action in particular, are attacked as illegitimate because they inevitably tread on the private property of someone.
I’m going to attempt to condense and already quite condensed summary further!
The introduction discusses the Boomerang Pattern, which I found confusing unless looking the image. The main idea is that if a network is initially unable to convince a particular state government to initiate change, they can make like a boomerang and go past the main blockade and assert pressure to other states. Ultimately, much like a boomerang, the pressure would all come back to the initial state thus resulting in progress.
The next section looks at four different movements relating to what I believe is bringing Western culture to different networks and attempting to change the traditions of the already existing networks in the interest of human rights. It seems that many of the attempts to “modernize” others backfired and led to people rejecting much of the aspects of Western culture presented to them.
The authors then discuss two ideal types of international advocacy relationships. The human rights tradition and the solidarity framework.
In the next section, environmental advocacy is looked at through the lens of a few case studies. The authors concede that “environmental issues present a particular set of challenges, in that the base argument centers around the idea of the environment as a public good” (from summary).
The authors identify a pattern that frequently appears in successful networks and it is bullet listed in Amy’s summary.
The conclusion goes into five different stages that networks can be effective during.
Introduction: Morozov introduces the topic of delusion Western leaders suffer from when they speak about the Internet and its capacity to spread democracy by introducing two key terms: Cyber-utopianism and Internet-centrism. Cyber-utopianism is a term Morozov defines as “a naive belief in the emancipatory nature of online communication that rests on a stubborn refusal to acknowledge the downside.” Internet-centrism stems from this as it is the philosophy of action how decisions are made and crafted. In simpler terms: Cyber-utopianism is the what, and Internet-centrism is the how. Morozov continues by emphasizing that the context in which the internet is used must be remembered, since an individual’s experience in the West is not likely to be the dame experience worldwide. The premise of his book, as he puts it, is simply to attempt to salvage what remains of the Internet’s promise to aid in the fight against authoritarianism. In order for this to be accomplished though, Westerners must ditch the cyber-utopianism and internet-centrist ideas that add up into what he calls “the net-delusion.”
Many of the chapters focus on the different types of ways that censorship, surveillance, and propaganda are advancing despite the extreme optimism about the Internet’s capability to promote democracy. I will be focusing on some of the key points of the chapters I feel cover the important aspects of Morozov’s premise.
The Google Doctrine:
Morozov defines the Google Doctrine as “the enthusiatic belief in the liberating power of technology accompanied by the irresistable urge to enlist Silicon Valley start-ups in the global fight for freedom.” In June 2009, protests in Tehran began to receive attention in the media in the West. However, the focus was not on the goals of the people, but on the Internet ushering democracy into the country. This led to far-reaching assumptions of the capabilities of technologies in Iran. Morozov criticizes those in the west that unthinkingly accept conventional wisdom that believes that simply because authoritarian governments are censoring the Internet, that they must be afraid, and that a vibrant Internet culture existing in such places increases the liklihood of the regime’s collapse.
Texting like 1989
Decision makers often make metaphors about the Internet and its relation to freedom in terms of the Cold War and communism. No matter how creative the metaphor is though, few people are likely to pay attention to other aspects of the problem not captured in the initial metaphor once it becomes widely circulated. Western policy makers should, Morozov argues, rid themselves of the illusion that communism came to an abrupt end or that simply because people were watching it was guaranteed to be a peaceful end at that.
Orwells favorite LOLcat
I think the following image sums up this chapter quite well
(click to enlarge)
Open networks, Narrow Minds: Cultural Contradictions of Internet Freedom
Law enforcement professionals in the West are also engaging in looking over their citizen’s shoulders. Some have begin to look through social networking sites searching for details on a particular case or simply keeping an eye out for new threats. If American lawmakers are willing to punish popular Internet websites (in the book a website was punished for instigating a snowball fight) and peruse Facebook, it is hard not to expect the Iranian government to see no harm in punishing a website for facilitating street protests. In the end, the significance of the Internet as a public space will only be uncovered in the long-run, and even then, only if governments can manage to avoid attempting to shape those public spaces according to their own agenda.
Making History: More than just a browser menu
“There has hardly appeared a technolgy that wasn’t praised for its ability to raise the level of public debate, introduce mor etransparency to politics, reduce nationalism, and transport us to the mythical global village,” writes Morozov. Unfortunately, it seems that these technologies tend to over promise and under deliver when it comes down to it.Television, radio, and even the telegram were all technologies praised for their potential to end wars. While there is no doubt that technology definitely helps, it never quite reaches the goals we set out for it. One of the biggest problems discussed is that the problems being addresses by policy makers simply think of technology how it can be used today, as opposed to in terms of what it could do tomorrow. A technology such as the Internet has multiple affordances, and thus each needs to be evaluated on their own terms. The Internet is not inherently neutral. It can be used for good and for bad, and it is only when policy makers understand and adapt to thinking in such a way that progress can be made.
The Wicked Fix
“Technological possibilities are irresistible to man. If a man can go to the moon, he will…” -Jon Von Neumann
In this final chapter, Morozov makes a call for “cyber-realists.” These are the people who see and understand things happening in the Internet as they truly are. Most importantly, cyber-realists would not search for technological solutions for political problems, now would they pretend that such a solution even exists. Cyber-realists would focus on optimizing decision making and not get swept away by the abstract discussions about the capabilities of technology to change the world.
Giugni’s piece brings up a point we’ve talked about before, social movements and identity.
Going to the Occupy MBTA demonstration 2 weeks ago was an example of a group of people that identified somehow as a greater Boston-area citizen that would be put out by the proposed changes in the MBTA’s services. The fact that there was a wide range of ages, genders, and races protesting means the movement isn’t focused on one type of person (say women) identifying with the cause.
I think the fact that you can no longer say “occupy” without it having certain connotations is a huge impact that is a result of all the movements around the nation, and Giugni mentions the “spillover” effect, and I think that is what a lot of these occupy movements are. Since the first Occupy Wall-street movement, several other Occupy movements have sprung up, not as a response but as a result of people seeing others taking a stand on something they are unhappy about. I think OWS opened up the floodgates for people who did not realize that a bunch of people who want to make a change don’t need a single leader but merely need to get together to let their dismay be heart, and I think Giugni makes a good point about that. Winning over the public with Occupy movements is the first step towards making a bigger change or leaving behind a legacy.
Giugni also mentions that he does not believe the direct impact of the Occupy Movement will be substantial, and I have to agree with the notion that such broad movements all under the umbrella term of “occupying something” does not really give off the impression of a movement that will make one big dent in what needs to be changed. However, I do think that several small dents in the system is still an important thing. Getting the idea out that “occupying” can do something and making it culturally relevant to people means that it can have an impact later. All the dents will add up…
Boler’s introduction in Digital Media and Democracy discusses the media and its power to make things true. The three opening quotes offer three different takes on the state of current news outlets and technologies and misinformation being passed around even faster because of it.
However, with the increase in access of technology, comes the access to more raw material (especially online). In the past, one was unable to dig up footage of a candidate contradicting himself (although it may have been recorded in a newspaper or other writing), but now almost everything ever recorded in any way can be found online. But while this may be true, Boler, as well as many of the other authors presented in the book, note that just because the information is available does NOT mean everyone has access to it. I think we often take our access to the Internet for granted and forget that a significant amount of the population does not have immediate access to everything available. Because of this, many people rely on traditional media (television, radio, newspapers) in order to gather information about what is happening outside of their home. The dangers of having only traditional means of access to information is that it is more “controlled.” Living in a world of spin, the idea of Truthiness is becoming more of a reality, and it is becoming more difficult to determine the biases of those who put out the news.
The introduction, overall, seems to set up a book filled with optimistic and pessimistic views of the current system, and I’d go as far as to say that it makes an attempt at balancing itself, but everything must be taken with a grain of salt, even a book telling you to do that very thing.
The most powerful message is the one of promoting accuracy.Hassan Ibrahim is quoted as saying “if you have a credible news outlet, people believe you and what you say is gospel truth. And if you get it wrong, then people get it wrong.” I’m up at 4 am and I have Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter open. Earlier today (yesterday), I saw a tweet from Wil Wheaton, a person with almost 2 million followers, that said Netflix had formed a Super PAC to support SOPA/PIPA:
I didn’t pay much attention to the tweet, thinking I’d look into it when I had time, but I definitely did not question it. I thought it was a bad move, but meh. Sometimes companies make bad decisions. Later, I got on Reddit and read an article that said completely the opposite, and I went back to check Wheaton’s feed.
While he corrected himself, I had not seen the second feed on my feed until I went back specifically to look at the original.
Maybe Twitter isn’t what we would traditionally call a reliable news source, but the number of retweets and favorites for the first tweet outnumber the one correcting it (at least at 5am today). This reflects exactly what the article is warning about, and this isn’t even an extreme case. It’s a bit much to expect your average Joe (be he famous or not) to be an accurate reporter of the news because he doesn’t have fact checkers, and this is where traditional media outlets excel, or at least where they should in theory.
We keep looking towards technology to be our savior, but having access to information isn’t helpful if we don’t know how to sift through it, and this is where the media should be helping us. Unfortunately, many have agendas or a desire to appeal to certain audiences that hinder the spread of what I would call “good news.”
(P.S. My Google Doc Link for my final project first draft will be found HERE soon…hopefully)
Jason Adams’ piece in occupying time presents an interesting idea that the Occupy Movement is not only the gathering of people in a space to make their presence and unsatisfaction with the system known, but also the use of time to make their voices heard.
He cites the example of the Seattle WTO protests, and discusses how the people involved in that movement were able to successfully force the cancellation of the conference. Since, as Adams proposes, time is not money, but instead money is time, they were able to force the opposers hand by simply occupying time. In this situation, occupying time included disrupting the meetings of global capatilism simply by flooding the area with a huge amount of people. The inability of people to easily cross through the protests created a barrier to getting work done, and time loss was money loss.
What Adams is trying to say is that Occupy does not need to be an occupation of space, but needs to be a fluid movement that recognizes that the individuals making up the protests have different perceptions of time. Adams writes “While Occupy may be “occupying together,” this “together” is not simple and it is not “one.” An unemployed middle-class worker may not be extremely inconvenienced by gathering in a space for an indefinite amount of time, but others who support the movement may not be able to participate as fully because they must work within the system they are so unhappy about being a part of. This point-of-view is also brought up by Adams, and he mentions the previous activists calling into work sick or taking the day off in order to disrupt the normal day-to-day of the workplace environment in order to get a point across.
For me, the most interesting argument that Adams brings up is that “multiplicity should be valued more than unity, just as dissensus should be valued more than consensus.” I think a lot of times movements lose sight of the fact that multiple people, while unified under a single idea, have different opinions of the idea they are supporting. Dissensus, more often than not, provides the foundation for starting discussions on how to proceed with a movement.
Abstract: News discourse concerning issues such as abortion and the Occupy Movement is carefully constructed by those who report on it. What is classified as newsworthy can be influenced by politics and interest groups trying to amplify their viewpoint by getting it across to people by any means necessary. Sometimes, such actions result in lawsuits, which are often reported on by the media. These lawsuits often contain similar arguments, and can often simply be used as tools to garner support for one cause or another. This paper will analyze different court cases and their relationships to the abortion and occupy movements and the effect they have on public opinion.
Research Question: The Abortion (both anti-and pro) and Occupy movements both rely heavily on public support. The framing done by different organizations in order to sway people to their side can be heavily influenced by what is reported on in the media, and because of this, lawsuits are often filed in order to gain an edge against the opposition. I plan to research how lawsuits are used in this way, with my main question being: How are lawsuits used to change the way movements are framed?
Cases: The events I am specifically looking at, are lawsuits taken against or by the two movements described. Most lawsuits deal with freedom of speech and the movement’s right to gather in a particular area. Some examples of the cases I will be looking at are: Occupy Minneapolis, et al., Plaintiffs, v. County of Hennepin, et al., Defendants, NORTHEAST WOMEN’S CENTER, INC., Appellant in No. 88-1268 vs. [anti-abortion activists], EUGENE DAVIDOVICH, an individual; DAVINA LYNCH, an individual; and JOHN KENNEY, an individual, Plaintiffs, v. CITY OF SAN DIEGO, Defendant. The comparisons are valid since they deal with the movements trying to organize and mobilize only to come across obstacles set forth by opponents.
Research Methods: I would like to use a wide range of methods. A general survey about public opinion on abortion and the occupy movement and how it relates to what the surveyee has seen on the news and in other media outlets would be a great starting point. I would also like to interview someone from an active Occupier, a Planned Parenthood rep, and also from a pro-life establishment, to discuss how they deal with negative and positive lawsuits and deal with what the news chooses to report. As we discussed in class, there are several frame analyses that exist on abortion already, so I will use the book “Shaping Abortion Discourse” and, specifically, the coding techniques and results they have in the book.
Tools: The tools I will use are the particular cases listed above, the skills learned in class about surveys and interviews, and numerous articles such as Framing Analysis: An Approach to News Discourse, and framing articles we’ve come across throughout the class.
March 14: Propose Final Project to class; receive feedback
15th- implement feedback and revise
21st- Have sample survey and/or interview questions ready
26-30- Conduct surveys and interviews over course of spring break; gather all literature; organize into table
April 4th- have rough-rough draft ready
April 11th- first draft of paper ready for critique
April-Mayish- Revise, revise, revise.
May 16th- Final draft
In the readings, the point that resonated with me the most was in Benford’s piece, An Insider’s Critique of the Social Movement Framing Perspective, when he mentions that “the term ‘frame’ has become a cliché in the study of social movements.” It raises the question: Has “framing” been overused? The framing itself, of course is not something that can be overused since it is an action, but the scholars of social movements have created several types of frames that may have lost their meaning.
The point is made more solid when he composes a list of different frames that take up a good portion of the page. The main argument is that the field is lacking a sociology of movement framing processes, but has an abundance of frame names.
From the evidence he presents, I have to agree with the claim Benford is making. Even in our everyday lives we hear of “framing” that is going on. Just yesterday, The Indypendent blog reported on movements occurring in Chicago, and mentioned framing problems,
The issue of violence in the movement is at least in part a framing issue. Successful framing for a movement, as John A. Noakes and Hank Johnston highlight in Frames of Protest: Social Movements and the Framing Perspective, is more than just analyzing and identifying the issues: “individuals must be convinced that an injustice has occurred, persuaded that collective action is called for, and motivated to act if a social movement is to occur.” The identification and analysis are there, but thus far, a powerful, culturally-attractive frame or story has yet to appear that articulates and mobilizes the NATO-G8 protests as a positive force.
This recent event ties in perfectly with Benford’s critique, because the article claims that the negative framing occurring is because of the prevalence of the violent protestor’s narrative. The “neglect of emotions,” as Benford writes, negatively affects understanding of a movement, and since resource mobilization scholars neglect the passions of the people that compose of a movement, it is easy to understand why personalization and emotion are being improperly framed in this movement (That and of course the media’s personal agenda). The organizers of this particular movement seem to be trying to reframe the situation, attempting for a “family-friendly” frame.
All things considered, framing is a term we hear so often that it probably has become a cliche to many people. There are “framing wars” that happen between movements and the media, and we probably attempt to frame our own personal conquests. The word has been used too often, but to write-off framing would be like trying to ignore a giant elephant in your dorm room; it is just going to cause you a lot of grief. Framing, however cliche, is an aspect of social movements that must continue to be analyzed, in the way that Bedford suggests: More analyzing how as opposed to naming the framings.
I’ve always been wary of crowds.
My mother used to drag me to protests that her church was participating in, and, as a small child, I never understood how everyone knew to shout at the same time. Le Bon discusses the law of the mental unity of crowds, and addresses that people who join in crowds may discard their ideals and individual points of view in order to become one with the crowd.
I think we see this mentality quite often portrayed negatively in the media. Organized protests can gain media support or attention, but as Blanco states, the news has a short attention span, and to make something “newsworthy” takes more effort than just organizing a group of people together.
In the case of the protests I have attended as a child, there was always some local news station there. They seemed disappointed with the boring talking that occurred, but the cameramen would light up when shouting started. Even today ,when watching the news, it’s always about the unruliness that occurs, and when it’s not, the reporters seem surprised at a movement’s ability to hold a peaceful protest.
Many organizers of social movements obviously know that drama makes for good news. For example, Peta recently filed a lawsuit claiming orca whales are protected by the 13th amendment because they were being treated as slaves. Is this an outrageous claim? Probably. Does each individual involved with Peta think this lawsuit was a good idea? Probably not, but, as stated in Le Bon’s piece, a collective mind works differently than an individual’s mind. The person acting in a group no longer needs to use his own mind though, because the crowd will guide him, although it is tough to figure out who is guiding the crowd. The case was thrown out, but I nonetheless heard about it because it was “newsworthy.”
The idea of group-think is something I find fascinating. Is the image a social organization wishes to portray the same motivation the crowd supporting them has for gathering together? The answer should be yes, but when individuals cease to exist and instead form one hive mind, I do not think the group always has the SMO’s best interests in mind.
I agree with Le Bon mainly on his last point, that a crowd may, more often than not, be heroic. In certain circumstances, a crowd is able to maintain its composure, and peacefully gather in order to garner attention for a movement, without pulling a major publicity stunt (although the protest itself probably counts), and I think these are the best examples of social movement in action.
When a police officer is pepper spraying people, and the crowd does nothing, it is not an act of cowardice, but of heroism. Doing nothing can speak volumes more than putting up a fight.