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Author:Sreedhar Nemmani (Temple University)
Paper short abstract:
The role of digital technologies in facilitating social change received considerable scholarly attention, both supporting and problematizing their affordances. This paper deliberates on the aspects of collaborative social movements and what it means for scholars to develop a collaborative platform.
Paper long abstract:
The spontaneous youth uprisings across the world, from Chile to Hong Kong, and from Europe to South Asia have once again brought the focus on the digital media in enabling the formation of virtual coalitions that facilitate on-ground resistances. A careful parsing of these resistances, however, highlights the need for taking emerging scholarship on the limitations of the affordances provided by the digital media platforms into consideration. While some scholars observe that digital resistances, like those that sprung in the Arab world, had more on-ground mobilization than earlier acknowledged, others contend that neither is digital equality a reality, not does access to digital platforms ensure socio-political equality based on their class, race, gender, and in some cases caste, among others. Based on the learnings gleaned from four-month fieldwork conducted in rural Southern India and based on an ongoing project of building a digital avenue for decentralized collaboration of the student-led protests in India, this paper highlights the need for reconsidering the concepts of media interventions. The paper argues that to achieve a truly collaborative effort the platform has to be truly decentralized. The paper deliberates different strategies that could be engaged in the creation of such a platform.
Engaged media anthropology in the digital age [Media Anthropology Network]