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Jones And Turner iran seattle presentation


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Jones And Turner iran seattle presentation

  1. 1. From Seattle To Tehran: The Role of Social Media in Protests and Grassroots Movements Cameron Jones Michael Turner
  2. 2. Guiding Questions • Protest Paradigm and Liberal Ideology Theory mutually serve to reinforce the hegemonic status quo – How did this idea change with the introduction of democratic structures of Web 2.0 technologies? – How did the hegemon adapt to the challenges of Web 2.0 radical democracy? – How have social movements learned to use features of the internet to organize and disseminate information? – How have features of the web changed in the ten years between the Battle of Seattle and the Iranian Twitter Election Riots?
  3. 3. Thesis • A comparison of uses of social media and mobile technology between the Battle of Seattle in 1999 and the Iranian Election Riots in 2009 tell us that despite the harnessing of the internet for global social movement organization and despite the promise of radical democracy with the proliferation of Web 2.0 technologies, western liberal hegemony nonetheless works to impel reconciliation of the resulting dissonance between the protest paradigm and liberal ideology.
  4. 4. Theoretical Framework • Key Terms: – Indymedia – Radical Democracy – Protest Paradigm – Ideology – Hegemony – Liberal Ideology as Hegemon
  5. 5. Pickard (2006) • Indymedia  internet-based activism  actualization of radical democracy. – Email lists – Easily uploaded news stories to collective online documents or shared website architecture
  6. 6. Pickard, con’t. • Radical Democracy - a broad version of participatory democracy that seeks to equalize power hierarchies, correct structural inequities in all institutions, and counter proprietary logic. The internet amplifies Indymedia activists’ potential for radical democracy by democratizing media production, increasing non-hierarchical communications, and redistributing power to facilitate coordinated, co-operative action.
  7. 7. Pickard, con’t. “Important questions remain regarding the often passive nature of this consensus; we should interrogate whether silence on an email list can constitute participatory democracy” (36). Basically, Pickard is asking a question that addresses needs that will soon be in part met by the features of Web 2.0.
  8. 8. Protest Paradigm (McLeod and Detenber, 1999) – Framing characteristics: • Narrative Structure – violent crime story narrative casts event as a battle between protesters and police, rather than as an intellectual debate between the protesters and their chosen target • Reliance on official sources – perspective of the power holders reinforces the status quo • Public Opinion – mainstream media coverage of social protest often communicate the deviance of protesters by depicting them as an isolated minority, often by bystanders • Combined effect is to delegitimize, marginalize, and demonize protesters.
  9. 9. Ideology and Hegemony • Ideology - a process in which different kinds of meanings are produced and reproduced through the establishment of a mental attitude toward the world. That outlook privileges certain sign systems as necessary, natural, or inevitable ways of recognizing meaning and suppresses or ignores other sign systems (Lears, 1985).
  10. 10. Ideology and Hegemony • Hegemony – The process by which a social order remains stable by generating consent to its parameters through the production and distribution of ideological texts that define social reality for the majority of the people (Cloud, 117). • Liberal Ideology as Hegemon
  11. 11. Battle in Seattle • Complex series of events protesting WTO Ministerial Conference, week of Nov. 29, 1999 • “The protests against the World Trade Organization that rocked Seattle, Washington in late 1999 were an incredibly significant moment in the history of popular protests. Not only did the protestors succeed in disrupting the meetings of the world's most influential trade-governing bodies, but the event drew together incredibly diverse constituencies that represented a wide range of interests, many of which would seem to be incompatible at first light.” (Source: • Cited as early major example of successful harnessing of internet for global organization of a social movement action
  12. 12. “The birth of a global citizen’s movement” • This is What Democracy Looks Like – A 2000 documentary film directed by Jill Friedberg and Rick Rowley for Big Noise Films – Made from footage compiled from over 100 independent journalists. • News Hour and local news coverage • Protest Paradigm • Indymedia – Photo, video, email, news, etc.
  13. 13. How might this historical event have been different with access to the features of Web 2.0 technology?
  14. 14. Iran Protest • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government vs. supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi • Contested election, vote-counting fraud • Iranian people feared that Ahmadinejad would succeed in undermining the values of a republic.
  15. 15. Reporting on Iran’s Protest • Journalists restricted • Twitter one of few sources of information • Rapid spread of Youtube video depicting protester Neda Agha Soltan’s death • Web 2.0 technologies lauded in press as essential tools for democracy
  16. 16. The New York Times
  17. 17. Criticisms of Coverage • Golnaz Esfandiari: – “no one seemed to wonder why people trying to coordinate protests in Iran would be writing in any language other than Farsi” – “Twitter wasn’t one perspective in Iran, it was the only perspective that outsiders had” (Foreign Policy Online) • Evgeny Morozov: – “we have to blame a bevy of English-speaking Iranian bloggers who had shaped his opinion (many of them from the Iranian diaspora, with strong pro-Western feelings—why else blog in English?), as well as Farsi-speaking bloggers in Tehran who had shaped the opinion of the English-speaking Iranians, and so forth” (Dissent)
  18. 18. Results of Web 2.0 Technology In Iran • Disputed role of Twitter overshadowed protest issues • Drew global attention to protest • Overlooked effects on news: Criticism of CNN’s weekend coverage by Twitter users led to more coverage • Effects on political actors – Criticism of Obama, Clinton – State Department and Twitter
  19. 19. Conclusions • Implications of technological differences between Iran and Seattle • Radical Democracy: Seattle lacked technology, Iran lacked democratic accountability • Reconciliation of Protest Paradigm and Liberal Ideology in service of the hegemon at the cost of web-based radical democracy – Mutation of narrative structure in protest paradigm – Ahmadenijad still “won”, so citizens/democracy didn’t prevail, but news organizations framed the story as the success of American/Western technology