Social Media, Politics and the State

Announcement of a forthcoming collected volume (2014):
Social Media, Politics and the State: Protests, Revolutions, Riots, Crime and Policing in the Age of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Edited by Daniel Trottier and Christian Fuchs
New York: Routledge

This book is the essential guide for understanding how state power and politics are contested and exercised on social media. It brings together contributions by social media scholars who explore the connection of social media with revolutions, uprising, protests, power and counter-power, hacktivism, the state, policing and surveillance.
It shows how collective action and state power are related and conflict as two dialectical sides of social media power, and how power and counter-power are distributed in this dialectic. The collection features research that considers the two-sided contradictory nature of power in relation to social media and politics, is theoretically focused, critical in nature and empirically rich and rigorous. The chapters cover social media in the context of phenomena such as contemporry revolutions in Egypt and other countries, populism 2.0, anti-austerity protests, the fascist movement in Greece’s crisis, Anonymous and police surveillance.

Chapter 1: Introduction (Daniel Trottier and Christian Fuchs)

Section One: State Power and Civil Counter-Power

Social media are platforms for social life, including conflicts between states and civil society. These conflicts are situated in contexts that include local, national and transnational protests against regimes and austerity measures. Sometimes these conflicts are less tangible, as in the case of civil society movements such as Anonymous and Wikileaks. Conflict between states and civil society are also manifest at the level of policing and intelligence, which increasingly criminalize social media platforms. These opening chapters provide a broad scope of the kinds of contexts and struggles that chapters in subsequent sections address in greater detail.

Chapter 2: Thank you, Facebook. A critical discussion on democratic and communicative practices in the global uprisings (Donatella Della Porta and Alice Mattoni)

Chapter 3: Populism 2.0: social media and popular movements between homogenisation and disintermediation (Paolo Gerbaudo)

Section Two: Civil Counter-Power Against Austerity

The global economic crisis is implicated in most contemporary protest. In response to proposed austerity measures, some civil society movements target national governments that seek to cut services, while others target transnational groups such as the G8 and G20. Still other movements use the crisis as justification to promote racist and fascist views, including violence against visible minorities. One common feature to these movements is their reliance on digital media to organize and communicate. This section considers how platforms like Facebook, but also protest-specific platforms are used to promote anti-austerity movements, while making those movements visible to nation states.

Chapter 4: Web 2.0 Nazi Propaganda: Golden Dawn’s Affect, Spectacle and Identity Constructions in Social Media (Panos Kompatsiaris and Yiannis Mylonas)

Chapter 5: More than an electronic soapbox: Activist web presence as a collective action frame, newspaper source and police surveillance tool during the London G20 protests in 2009 (Jonathan Cable)

Chapter 6: Counter-Hegemonic Surveillance Assemblages: Live Streaming Critiques of Capital and the State in the Quebec Spring (Elise Danielle Thorburn)

Section Three: Anonymous as Global Civil Counter-Power

Some state conflicts are not bound to national borders. Global civil society movements such as Anonymous and Wikileaks challenge political order on a regional, national, and transnational scale. Yet they are not centered in any particular country, and their membership is deliberately obscured. This section addresses the extent to which social media is implicated in these struggles.

Chapter 7: Anti-social Networking: Toward a Critical Political Economic Critique of Anonymous and the “New Hacktivism” (Ashley Fogle)

Chapter 8: Anonymous: Hacktivism and Contemporary Politics (Christian Fuchs)

Section Four: Contested and Toppled State Power

This section considers the role that social media plays at the national/regime level, that is, where conflict exists between a nation’s government and population. Social media platforms allow citizens to organize protest movements, and arguably play a role in challenging regimes. But state regimes benefit from surveillance technologies that allow them to monitor these movements.

Chapter 9: Creating spaces for dissent: The role of social media in the 2011 Egyptian revolution (Sara Salem

Chapter 10: Social media activism and state censorship (Thomas Poell)

Section Five: State Power as Policing and Intelligence

Social media, when coupled with mobile devices, make visible instances of police abuse and corruption. They can also be used by citizens to police one another in a kind of crowdsourced criminal justice. Yet these same platforms also make social life visible to law enforcement and state intelligence agencies. This section considers the coexistence of police power and citizen counter-power on digital media.

Chapter 11: Police ‘Image Work’ in an Era of Social Media (Christopher J. Schneider)

Chapter 12: Policing Social Media: Crowd-sourced and Consolidated Efforts (Daniel Trottier)

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