Mic Check! Media Cultures and the Occupy Movement

From Social Movement Studies: Journal of Social, Cultural and Political Protest, Volume 11, Issue 3-4, 2012:

Scholars and activists have hotly debated the relationship between social media and social movement activity during the current global cycle of protest. This article investigates media practices in the Occupy movement and develops the concept of social movement media cultures: the set of tools, skills, social practices and norms that movement participants deploy to create, circulate, curate and amplify movement media across all available platforms. The article posits three key areas of inquiry into social movement media cultures, and explores them through the lens of the Occupy movement: (1) What media platforms, tools and skills are used most widely by movement participants? (Practices); (2) What role do experienced practitioners play in movement media practices? (Expertise); and (3) In what ways does the movement media culture lean toward open or participatory, and in what ways toward closed or top–down? (Open/Closed). Insight into the media culture of the Occupy movement is based on mixed qualitative and quantitative methods, including semi-structured interviews, participant observation, visual research and participation in Occupy Hackathons, as well as the Occupy Research General Demographic and Political Participation Survey, a database of approximately 1200 local Occupy sites, and a dataset of more than 13 million Occupy-related tweets. The findings will be of interest to both scholars and movement participants.

About Sasha Costanza-Chock

Sasha Costanza-Chock (pronouns: they/them or she/her) is a scholar, activist, and media-maker, and currently Associate Professor of Civic Media at MIT. They are a Faculty Associate at the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, Faculty Affiliate with the MIT Open Documentary Lab and the MIT Center for Civic Media, and creator of the MIT Codesign Studio (codesign.mit.edu). Their work focuses on social movements, transformative media organizing, and design justice. Sasha’s first book, Out of the Shadows, Into the Streets: Transmedia Organizing and the Immigrant Rights Movement, was published by the MIT Press in 2014. They are a board member of Allied Media Projects (AMP); AMP convenes the annual Allied Media Conference and cultivates media strategies for a more just, creative and collaborative world (alliedmedia.org).


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