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Social Media and Protest Participation in a Middle-Class Activist Demand: Connective Individualism, Expressive Issue-Engagement and Disciplined Updating
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics and Media, Media and Communication Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5097-6218
2015 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper departs from a study of a middle-class activist demand engaging on social media in tandem with more traditional offline activist participation to organise and mobilise participation around saving a bathhouse. The aim of the paper is to analyse intersections of social media uses with traditional protest activities and to discuss the type of participation that this brought forth.

The paper will discuss the importance of other users/ participants for how individuals reflexively explored themselves as activists. To negotiate yourself as a politically interested individual was intertwined with connecting yourself to larger political groups and collectives. Through the concept of connective individualism the paper highlights such reflexive aspects and also underlines the mutuality between connectivity, individualism and protest participation. The above is intertwined with a kind of expressive issue-engagement that was observed among the activists. Engagement around saving the bathhouse was expressive since this issue often was reflexively chosen. With the idea of expressive issue-engagement I want to underline that issues are not only motivated by activists’ political convictions, but also important for expressing and sustaining activists identities. This is also intertwined with practices of disciplined updating. Activists needed both to be updated on what was going in their social media networks and to update their social media networks on what was going on in their lives and hence also self-biographies. Activists having connected themselves to the bathhouse demand on social media platforms, started to get information/updates flowing towards them. Some of this information also pushed some of them to act in offline protests. Connecting yourself to an activist demand seemed, if not to control, so to at least push people to stay “true” to their displayed identity and act accordingly. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Human Aspects of ICT
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-262552OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-262552DiVA: diva2:854243
ECREA; Communication and Democracy section: Political Agency in the Digital Age. Media, Participation and Democracy
Available from: 2015-09-16 Created: 2015-09-16 Last updated: 2015-09-16

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