Collective Movement Identity Megablog

The People’s Mic: Dancing Between Collective and Personal Identities? – Amy

Here, Amy calls out Occupy’s “people’s mic” as an “embodied experience” of Polletta and Jasper’s “cognitive, moral, and emotional connection with a broader community, category, practice, or institution.” She cites Richard Kim’s assertion that the use of the tool in a horizontally organized group helps simplify messages and strengthen the collective identity as a whole. I was struck by Amy’s story about speaking with those in the Occupy movement who did not like using people’s mic. Interesting how a mechanism that seems to represent a movement can quickly turn into a cause of disassociation. Amy finishes up her post with questions about the “recurring dialectic dance” between collective and individual identity.

Reclaiming and using pejorative identities – Molly

Using her ongoing research on the portrayal of hacktivism in the media as a reference point, Molly chews over the benefits and risks associated with the way hacktivist groups self-identify. On the one hand, the “media metaphor” allows groups such as Anonymous and LulzSec to manipulate their image in the minds of the public as well as recruit effectively. On the other hand, “word reclamation” (embracing the pejorative for the purpose of self-identification) is a double edged sword, one that may end up problematic for the group.

Collective Identity Reflections – Vic

“Art is a cultural building block,” notes Vic, citing a YouTube video of a 13 year old Iranian girl singing a song from popular Western culture. She then asks about crediting artists whose work becomes symbolism for social movement collective identity, such as Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s Guy Fawkes mask illustration, which has become pervasive in the Anonymous (and, to a lesser extent, Occupy) movement. Finally, Vic wonders if collective identity theory doesn’t do enough to understand its effect on the individuals within.

Book Review: The Power of Identity (Manuel Castells) – David

David provides a thorough summary of Manuel Castells’ “interesting and complex effort to develop a new understanding of how groups and individuals are interrelated through various mediums of communication.” With anecdotal tidbits from his own experiences, David is able to illustrate a number of observations made by Castells throughout his study of identity within social movements across the globe and throughout history. David finishes off his summary noting that it’s worthwhile to think about some of the more recent technological considerations and how they might affect Castells’ thesis.

Floating Ideas: The Great Depression and the Occupy Movement – Nathalie

In thinking about her final project for the semester, Nathalie brings to light some of the interesting similarities between the various protest movements surrounding The Great Depression and Occupy. She considers comparing and contrasting media utilization and resource mobilization between then and now, as well as the political, economic, and societal reasons for both movements to come to be.

Proposal: Civic Media in China – Huan

Huan’s final project proposal asks about social movement media strategies in China. Taking into considerations how movements in “democratic” countries use the media, she wonders if the adversarial nature of the way these movements attract media attention would work in a nation such as China, where a complex media system inspires movements to change the way they are framed based on the sector of society about which they are making a comment. She cites land disputes and human rights as examples of movements which require different strategies.


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