Wednesday 12th March 2014, Media City 2.20
Double external session on Digital/Social Media and Activism
External Speaker: Dr Paolo Gerbaudo (King’s College, London)
Social Media Activism and the Generic Internet User, between Homogenisation and Disintermediation
Paolo Gerbaudo is Lecturer in Digital Culture and Society at King’s College London. Previously he had been an Associate Lecturer in Journalism and Communication, at the Media Department at Middlesex University, and an Adjunct Professor of Sociology at the American University in Cairo (AUC). Apart from his academic work Paolo has also acted as a journalist covering social movements, political affairs and environmental issues, and as a new media artist exhibiting at art festivals and shows. He holds a PhD in Media and Communications from Goldsmiths College.
External Speaker: Dr Fidele Vlavo (King’s College London)
Disobedience, Occupation, and Performance: Reframing Online Protest
Electronic civil disobedience (ECD) emerged as a new form of socio-political activism in the early 1990s. However, though ECD was practised in support of the Zapatista uprising and as part of the alter-globalisation movement, it remains unclear as to whether it is a legitimate form of protest, a form of 'slacktivism', or a mode of information politics which disrupts data flows. This paper offers a critical assessment of the concepts and discourses that have encouraged the development of cyberprotest through an examination of key cases. It examines critical responses to early ECD actions including legal prosecution, criticism from activists and public disapproval. It also considers more positive responses on the future of ECD centred on three aspects: a reconsideration of the legacy of civil disobedience praxis; a reformulation of cyberspace as a site of resistance and, a conceptualisation of the performative quality of online disturbance.
Fidele Vlavo joined the Department of CMCI in January 2012. She was previously lecturing at the department of arts and media at London South Bank University where she completed her doctoral research. Fidele holds a BA (Hons) in Arts Management (London South Bank University) and a degree in Film studies (Sorbonne-Nouvelle Paris). Her PhD examined the concept of electronic civil disobedience and the practice of online activism. It provided a discursive analysis of the use of cyberspace as an exclusive site for political protest. Prior to her PhD, Fidele worked on digital projects at the Courtauld Institute and the British Museum.