Title
Internet and social movement action repertoires: opportunities and limitations
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Social Sciences. Political Sciences
Publication type
article
Publication
London ,
Subject
Politics
Source (journal)
Information, communication and society. - London
Volume/pages
13(2010) :8 , p. 1146-1171
ISSN
1369-118X
1468-4462
ISI
000288986400004
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
The Zapatista uprising, which started in 1994, and the 'Battle of Seattle' in 1999 are but two iconic examples that are so often used to illustrate how the internet has shaped and is shaping social movements and the tactics they use to pursue their claims. In this article, the authors present the 'state-of-the-art' literature on action repertoires of social movements in an internet age. The article builds a strong case in favour of the internet as it has given social movements new and improved opportunities to engage in social and political action. At the same time, a naive internet-optimism is avoided, by pointing out several limitations. There is the 'classical' problem of digital divide. In some cases, the internet has made collective action still not easy enough, while in others it has made it perhaps too easy reducing the final political impact of a certain action. In addition, it seems that the new media are loosing their newness quickly, and more fundamentally are unable to create stable ties between activists that are necessary for sustained collective action. With the internet, social movements have not become a more powerful force in society. But, as political and economical power has gradually moved to the international level, the internet has enabled social movements to follow that transition and operate more globally
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