Call for Papers: Mediatized Cultural Activism

Deadline: Papers must be submitted by December 19, 2014.


In recent years participatory and activist practises in the public space have been increasingly entangled with digital networks. This is evident in large-scale protests such as the Occupy Wall Street movement, the various activist practices related to the so-called Arab Spring, the Taksim Gezi Park protests, and in activists groups such as Femen, Pussy Riot, and Anonymous. Furthermore a proliferation of “quasi-autonomous recognition networks” of creative knowledge workers (Lievrouw 2011) has occurred and the boundaries between commodity culture and social resistance are increasingly blurred (Mukherjee and Banet-Weiser 2012).

The common denominator for these highly diverse forms of protests seems to be that the revolting subjects (Tyler 2013), who may or may not invest their bodies in public spaces, rely on the documentation and circulation of their protests. In that sense activists’ practices are increasingly modelled in order to accommodate media circulation. Activists’ practices become mediatized (Hjarvard 2008; Hepp 2012) and the activist imaginary (Marcus 1996) emerges in the intersection of online and offline activities. Yet despite the mediatization and media circulation there is no guarantee that the protests will have lasting impact. The question thus become how the transition from mediatized activism to policymaking can occur and how we move from the technological ability to communicate to lasting connections (Zuckerman 2013).

It is from such perspective that we invite papers that ask what digital and networked culture, technological apparatus, mediatization, and database logic do for the ways in which people participate in and construe activism. How does digitalization and mediatization change the ways in which participants invest themselves and their bodies in activist protests? What role do local networks play? And how do authorities cope when they not only have to control activist practices in the local space, but also in the media? We seek papers that investigate how digital networks redesign the modalities of activist participation, ask how we can understand the relation between visual culture and activist practises, investigate the institutional limits and opportunities of activism, ask who have stakes in cultural resistance, and investigate the possibility for cultural dissent to emerge as political resistance.