Anastasia Kavada gives Keynote at the Conference of the Institute for Social Movement Studies

27th November 2019

Anastasia Kavada joined Thorsten Thiel (Weizenbaum Institute), Nhi Le (Freelance journalist and Speaker, Leipzig) and Peter Ullrich (Technische Universität Berlin, IPB) to deliver a Keynote panel on The Present and Futures of Digital Activism. The panel was part of the annual conference of the Institute for Social Movement Studies, which this year focused on Hashtags, Tweets, Protest: Social Movements in the Digital Age.

The panel discussed the way in which protest movements organize and mobilize via digital platforms, and how they attempt to impact public discourses through hashtags and visual strategies. The panel explored new pathways of visibility for protest in an ecosystem of opaque selection mechanisms, content moderation policies and a battle over attention. It was also noted that national and transnational regulations reinforce the communicative power of digital platforms, while private-public surveillance endangers free speech and privacy.

The panel helped to uncover current perils and future possibilities of digital activism through bringing together knowledge from the academia and practitioners alike, and concluded that in digitalized societies what we see may not always be what we get. Collective action and digital communication infrastructures are in a relationship of both possibility and tension.

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