Accepted Paper:

When Care 'Matters:' The Use of Social Media in Gezi Movement  

Author:

Oznur Karakas (Open University of Catalunia)

Paper short abstract:

The presentation discusses the technological mediation in Gezi Movement through situated observations within the field and the discourse analysis of in-depth interviews with the activists so as to propose an ‘embodied’ account on how a general politics of care also governed the use of digital media.

Paper long abstract:

The literature on the 'Occupy' movements characterized by the occupation of and encampment in public squares is laden with accounts on the role of social media in the emergence of such mobilizations. Nevertheless, be it the logic of collective action (Bennett & Segerberg), aggregation (Juris) or networks of hope and rage (Castells), most of these accounts prove to be hyperbolic and sometimes over-generalizing regarding the significance of the use of social media in this new wave of social contention which otherwise makes use of a highly embodied action repertoire.

Inspired by the critical stance taken by feminist interventions in STS towards all types of 'disembodied' accounts on technological mediation, my presentation takes a critical distance away from accounts that overtly or implicitly see in occupy movements the materialization of otherwise virtual networks, thusly making invisible what characterizes the most such mobilizations: embodied and highly caring collective attempts to experiment on otherwise impossible encounters in the making-of alternative urban spaces.

I thusly analyze the use of social media in Gezi as a practice of 'care' and a 'solution' to the problem at hand based on observations in the field and a discourse analyses of 21 in-depth interviews with activists from different background with respect to the prevalence of care in the movement as an ethical and political stance, avoiding to be caught in either a technological euphoria on the potential of digital media to recruit virtual communities 'then to be' materialized in the squares or an unjust praise of willful 'human' action characterized by 'it's just a tool,' approach.

Panel T100
Feminist Technoscience Studies in Unexpected Places: (Intra)Activism and Social Justice