Activists use digital as well as mainstream media tools to attract supporters, advertise their campaigns, and raise awareness of issues in the broader community. Activism and Digital Culture in Australia examines the use of digital tools and culture by Australian and international activist organisations to facilitate public engagement, participation and deliberation in issues and advance social change. In particular the book engages media studies, cultural studies, social theory and various ethical and political philosophical perspectives to examine the use of digital multi-platform tools by activist organisations and advocates for social change to a) disseminate information and raise public awareness; b) invoke, inform and shape public debate through the provision of information and invocation of affect; and c) garner public support (including funding) for issues and for associated social change. Engaging both qualitative and quantitative approaches, these case studies will demonstrate the richness of digital culture for activism and advocacy, examining the use by activist organisations of such digital media tools as apps, blogging, Facebook, RSS, Twitter, and YouTube. The shows that digital culture offers productive mechanisms and spaces for the reshaping of society itself to take more of a participatory role in progressing social change.
1.Digital Culture, Activism and Social Movements in Australia/ 2. Political Blogging: Can Public Deliberation Realize Activist Aims?/ 3. Animals Australia, Multi-Platform Campaigning and the Mobilisation of Affect/ 4.Social Networking and Direct Action in the Digital Age/ 5. GetUP! and Participatory Activism/ 6. Crowdfunding Initiatives for Social Movements/ 7. Future Possibilities/ Index
Debbie Rodan is an associate professor in Media & Cultural Studies at Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia.
Jane Mummery is a senior lecturer in Philosophy at Federation University Australia (formerly the University of Ballarat), Ballarat, Australia.
This timely and cutting-edge volume makes an invaluable contribution to understanding the opportunities and challenges of the digital age for activist groups. The book takes a strong stand against the all-to-easy allegations of clicktivism. It convincingly demonstrates that digital activism, through virality, positive campaigning, and the mobilisation of weak links, generates new and powerful forms of participation that can bring about social change.
Activism and Digital Culture in Australia examines global debates about digital media activism, from the Arab Spring to Black Lives Matter and much besides. It adds to that a significant and valuable body of research specific to Australia. For example, the book explores the place of bloggers in supporting indigenous Australians’ rights, as well animal rights, environmental protection of the barrier reef - all within a nuanced reading of neoliberalism and the affordances of digital technology. The book argues that there is a powerful case that digital activism can be a progressive force for change - with its combination of narrative, connectivity and social action – and recognises that affect and deliberation are inseparable elements of digital activism. The book will no doubt become a major reference point in future discussions about digital activism in Australia.
Does “clicktivism” mobilize social change? Rodan and Mummery disclose Australia’s unique contributions to global social media activism. #Sosblakaustralia, the Indigenous sovereign nations movement, used Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to motivate and organize a 60,000-person protest. Animals Australia’s “Make it Possible” campaign coaxed empathy for animals and sparked a backlash, which led to extensive public deliberation in social media. At its core, Activism and Digital Culture in Australia is about how we forge our identities and engage civic discourse in an always-on digital world, where the invisible tithes of data aggregation and surveillance put bodies at risk in different ways than in the days of protest leaflets and posters. This book is for anyone who wonders, “Do my social media posts make a difference?”
A stand-out point of the book is its comprehensive overview of many aspects of digital culture – social media, online petitions, apps, blogging and crowdfunding – and different political aims, from protecting the Great Barrier Reef to helping asylum seekers. The authors’ use of a variety of interdisciplinary approaches, drawing from deliberative democracy, social movement theories and communications, lends itself particularly well to studying the range of movements and tactics that take place online.