Accepted Paper:

Connected crowds: networks and politics of anybody  

Author:

Guiomar Rovira-Sancho (Metropolitan Autonomous University)

Paper short abstract:

Connected crowds build common spaces both on line and in situ. The centrality of communication and networks in collective action has lead to distributed ways of participation, open to anybody.

Paper long abstract:

Over the last two decades, social movements have developed experiences in linking up networks as well as in common reflections about the very impact of their collective action. Thinking about considering the Internet not only as a means of communication, but a space for subversion ignited among artists and hackers right at the moment of the upsurge of Zapatismo in 1994. From the nineties until now, the centrality of communication and activism around technology has become an emerging paradigm in social struggles. In communication networks, a series of common notions were created to link up a global justice movement against neoliberalism. During the last years, connected crowds took the streets of many cities from the Arab Spring to the Indignados in Spain, the Occupy Movement in the USA or the Mexican #Yosoy132. These insurgencies emerge unexpectedly and their arrival on the scene reveals a will to be prefigurative, building spaces for common experimentation both on line and in situ.

As networks, connected crowds cannot be defined as a finite count of numerous parts, but multiplicities organized around the principle of inclusion. It is the unity and heterogeneity flow of a networked structure what allows individual participation in building the commons without mediation.

In this paper I explore the networked "politics of anybody". The demand for non-delegation, appears with unprecedented radicalism. Politics stops being a restricted sphere, inhabited by political parties and opinion leaders. Politics also stops being a question of counterpublics, or of organized groups of activists with highly elaborate ideas about emancipation.

Panel T036
Social Studies of Politics: Making Collectives By All Possible Means