New Cartography for “Placeless” Activism

This week’s reading on tactical media highlighted various emerging modes of digital intervention as alternative forms of social struggles. These “placeless” conflicts differ significantly from traditional protests in that they often target changing public perception through the creation of media or bringing attention to a cause through the disruption of services. Together, these new strategies create networked spaces within the digital sphere that have real impact on popular beliefs that influence critical social debates ranging from religion, to political support of wars.

The map below illustrates a solid attempt to locate hotspots of activism. The map geo-referenced All GDELT protest data for 2013. GDELT or the Global Database of Events pulls together local, national and international news sources and codes them to identify all types of protest. Understanding that changing public perception is the most powerful outcome of any social movement, how can cartography be leveraged as an analytical tool for modern-day activism?

protest_map

SOURCE: John Beieler, Ph.D. Student at Pennsylvania State University with the help of Josh Stevens

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