SMC300 - Transnational and Globalization

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12 Apr 2012
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Week 11 – Transnational and Globalization
Arab spring
Month before, article critiquing scholars and techno-enthusiasts for undue emphasis
on sns as tool for political and social action.... Describes key characteristics of sns as
inadequate for political org, weak social toes, lack of hierarchy and comprehensive
Another: fb and twitter places revolutionaries go, cyber utopians believing Arab spring
driven by social ntwk ignore real world activism
Uprisings may appear spontaneous to western, history shows tech don’t play central
role in popular regime changes
By emphasizing liberating role of tools and downplaying role of human agency, such
accounts make Americans proud of own contribution
Wikileaks responded to initial events by publishing us gov criticisms of Tunisian
Nawaat website to disseminate articles by Tunisian dissidents and activists, banned in
country.... Info hub for activism, youtube frozen after report, fb deleted for not using real
name... Structures used against them
Bloggers in egypt tracking evidence on crimes and arrests, fb for street protests
Anonymous operation tunisia
Activists didnt spring immediately from sns, built interconnected online and offline
movements beforehand, platforms, major contributors and beneficiaries of digital
Use preexisting ties to global ntwk of activists, hactivists, groups and resources
Goldberg - virtual/public sphere
Key criticism putting too much emphasis on western sns
Regardless of content, inherently eco quality of internet participation contributes to
production of different and under examined mode of power
extreme but sobering antidote to widespread about democratizing power of sns
expanding access, increase user participation -> draw more into deeply embedded
power relations
liking and reposting ad campaigns
Shirky: however minor they may seem, any tool that improve shared awareness or
group coordination can be pressed into service for political means because freedom to
act in group is political
Week 11 – Transnational and Globalization
Castells: power in the ntwk society is exercised thru ntwks, easy to lose sight of power
and how existing and emerging power holders negotiate and struggle for control over
how ntwks will be used and defined by whom
Network appears decentralized and democratic/neutral with endless potential, but not
necessarily is
4 forms of power:
networking power: by those included in global ntwk society over human
collectives not included (exclusion/inclusion/gatekeeping) costs of exclusion
increase faster than benefits of inclusion
network power: by imposition of rules of inclusion, standards those inside must
follow to use ntwks, rules compelling
ntwked power: power to impose actor’s will over another’s on basis of structural
capacity of domination embedded in the ntwk
ntwk making power: by creators according to own values and interests, establish
and switch alliances between one dominant actor to another… most crucial form of
power in society (Twitter policy to block certain parts of world)
importance, ability to program and reprogram, set goals and design +
ability to connect/ ensure cooperation of different ntwks… which can mean
anyone trying to provide alt or different goals
• counterpower: fighting to change programs of pecific ntwks and by effort to disrupt
switches that reflect dominant interests and replace with alt… (where there is power)
in globally interdependent world, even gov don’t have all power, may bring chaos but
not absolute… interdependence and SNS
communication processes and ntwks key fields of power, influencing mind through
multimedia, source of construction of meaning in public mind beyond awareness
world of mass self communication… diversity of formats is rule
global media culture
Poster: importance of multimedia and cultural industries within emerging global
culture, how it is changed by global exchanges, mediation of IT, western discourses
Diversity of lang, hybrids, new cultures and subcultures, problems of translation
Week 11 – Transnational and Globalization
Dev of global culture not as negotiation btwn fixed cultures in competition for
hegemony but entirely new scene of cultural config whose outlines can not be
discerned today… new project for humanity, mix relations of forces with creativity
Problematizes idea that SNS fixed to geo location/culture, too early to sy existing
power relations and hegemonic culture will prevail online, increasingly global in nature
who will contribute to determining nature and rules
Global culture can only be global media culture