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Greek independent media and the antifascist movement

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Paper by Sky Croeser and Tim Highfield, presented by Sky Croeser at Social Media & Society conference, Toronto, September 2014.

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Greek independent media and the antifascist movement

  1. 1. Greek independent media and the an.fascist movement Dr Sky Croeser [@scroeser] Cur'n University Dr Tim Highfield [@6mhighfield] Queensland University of Technology Social Media & Society Toronto, 27 September 2014
  2. 2. Outline • Research context: the Mapping Movements project and the Greek case study. • Methods: combining online and offline, qualita.ve and quan.ta.ve. • Findings: – Greek an.fascist ac.vism relies on a complex media ecosystem. – Local networks are part of diverse issue and place-­‐based networks. – Greek ac.vists make significant use of their own media infrastructure.
  3. 3. Mapping Movements • Interna.onal studies of social movements and their use of online technologies. • Blend of fieldwork and digital methods, qualita.ve and quan.ta.ve analyses • Case studies: – Occupy Oakland. – 2013 World Social Forum, Tunis. – An.fascist movement and Indymedia Athens.
  4. 4. Context for Greece • 2008 protests sparked by the murder of teenager Alexandros Grigoropoulos by police. • Austerity policies + racism from mainstream and far-­‐right par.es. • AUacks on independent and mainstream media. • This provides an interes.ng case study: both representa.ve of broader trends, and with important par.culari.es.
  5. 5. Research design • Mixed-­‐methods approach: – Perspec.ves from movement par.cipa.ons – Online presenta.on of movement • Interviews and fieldwork • Online issue networks, social media discussions – Issuecrawler – Hashtag and place-­‐oriented keyword searches on TwiUer
  6. 6. Digital methods • Issuecrawler [hUp://issuecrawler.net] • Iden.fy issue and solidarity networks by following hyperlinks from a seed list of sites discussing a par.cular issue. • Issue networks highlight the resources, organisa.ons, media, and other websites (including social media plaorms) that are connected, cited, or invoked through hyperlinks from these sites. • TwiUer • Issue-­‐related keyword and hashtag archives captured through TwiUer API using yourTwapperKeeper.
  7. 7. Fieldwork and interviews • Semi-­‐structured interviews, tailored to par.cipants' posi.ons within the movement rather than standardised. • Snowball sampling with mul.ple star.ng points. • Par.cipant observa.on: a willingness to take part in ac.ons is vital.
  8. 8. Case study • Wider context of an.fascist movement and the 11 April 2013 shut down of Athens Indymedia, Radio Entasi, and 98FM. • Fieldwork in Greece during this period. • Issue networks and TwiUer ac.vity tracked April-­‐June 2013 around Indymedia, an.fascist sites, related hashtags and keywords.
  9. 9. Findings Indymedia issue network: clusters of sites around open radio and squats Connec.ons to an.fascist – an.-­‐ Golden Dawn – sites
  10. 10. An.fascist issue Findings network. Cluster of local Greek websites – alterna.ve and mainstream media – and ac.vist blogs. Connec.ons to interna.onal media and movements (refugee rights, pro-­‐immigra.on)
  11. 11. Findings 1. Social media use in the an.fascist movement is built on a diverse ecosystem in which commercial plaorms are important, but so are highly-­‐localised sites – Especially sites associated with local squats – these form a .ghtly interlinked group within the issue network.
  12. 12. Findings 2. An.-­‐racist work is strongly .ed to other an.-­‐fascist networks, both in Greece and throughout Europe. – The an.-­‐fascist movement in Athens is part of a solidarity network, where connec.ons are made not just between local movements around the same issue, but na.onal and interna.onal groups with thema.c and ideological overlaps, such as pro-­‐ immigra.on and refugee rights’ groups.
  13. 13. Findings 3. Independent and alterna.ve media plaorms play a central role in the Greek case, in response to distrust of commercial media: – Ci.zen-­‐led plaorms (including Indymedia, blogs, and open radio) afford ac.vists an outlet for dis.nct and independent voices. – Independent infrastructure gives ac.vists more control and autonomy than major social media plaorms.
  14. 14. Conclusion • Benefits of our methodological approach: – The Mapping Movements cases draw on a combina.on of quan.ta.ve and qualita.ve approaches, and of complementary offline and online research. – These allow us to consider mul.ple perspec.ves and framing of movements. – These methods include ac.vists engaged only with either the online or the physical aspects of the movements.
  15. 15. Conclusion • Online media use is, in fact, .ghtly .ed to place, rather than being a space of borderless freedom, even in democra.c states. – Importance of the local – squats, open radio, postering – and the impact of shutdowns. – Connec.ons to interna.onal groups and movements show solidarity and movement context, but the local shapes organisa.on. – Choice of media also confirms ac.vist concerns over independence, data control, and surveillance.
  16. 16. Mapping Movements • Dr Sky Croeser hUp://skycroeser.net @scroeser Global Jus'ce and the Poli'cs of Informa'on: The struggle over knowledge (Routledge, 2014) • Dr Tim Highfield hUp://.mhighfield.net @.mhighfield

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