From Facebook to Banquets: Identity, Institutions, and Uprisings - Tom Slee

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From Facebook to Banquets: Identity, Institutions, and Uprisings - Tom Slee

  1. 1. Identity, Institutions, and Uprisings Theorizing the Web, CUNY Tom Slee March 2, 2013
  2. 2. Event Micro Macro
  3. 3. Event Micro MacroSudden uprising (cascade)
  4. 4. Event Micro MacroSudden uprising (cascade) Lack of strong movement
  5. 5. Event Micro MacroSudden uprising (cascade) Lack of strong movement Network technologies
  6. 6. Event Micro MacroSudden uprising (cascade) Lack of strong movement Network technologies Score 3 0
  7. 7. When I was in post-Mubarak Cairo, my hosts kept pointing inamazement to various street corners where fierce politicaldiscussions were being held and often whispered, beforeremembering they could now speak up and adjusting theirvoice, “You never saw this. Nobody ever discussed politicsopenly, ever.” Then they would pause and add, “Well, exceptonline, of course. We all discussed politics online.” (Zeynep Tufekci (2011), MIT Technology Review)
  8. 8. Concepts of “submerged networks”, “halfway houses”, “freespaces”, “havens”, “sequestered social sites”, and “abeyancestructures” describe institutions removed from the physical andideological control of those in power, for example the blackchurch before the civil rights movement and literary circles incommunist Eastern Europe. Such institutions …represent a“free space” in which people can develop counterhegemonicideas and oppositional identities. (Francesca Polletta and James M. Jasper)
  9. 9. Institution High Status Low Status
  10. 10. Institution High Status Low StatusApproved
  11. 11. Institution High Status Low StatusApproved Tolerated
  12. 12. Institution High Status Low StatusApproved Tolerated Forbidden (Gordon Tilly and Sidney Tarrow (2006))
  13. 13. Collective identity: an individual’s cognitive, moral, andemotional connection with a broader community, category,practice, or institution.
  14. 14. Collective identity: an individual’s cognitive, moral, andemotional connection with a broader community, category,practice, or institution.Expression: Collective identities are expressed in culturalmaterials—names, narratives, symbols, verbal styles, rituals,clothing, and so on.
  15. 15. Collective identity: an individual’s cognitive, moral, andemotional connection with a broader community, category,practice, or institution.Expression: Collective identities are expressed in culturalmaterials—names, narratives, symbols, verbal styles, rituals,clothing, and so on.Function: Boundary-setting rituals and institutions that separatechallengers from those in power can strengthen internalsolidarity.
  16. 16. Collective identity: an individual’s cognitive, moral, andemotional connection with a broader community, category,practice, or institution.Expression: Collective identities are expressed in culturalmaterials—names, narratives, symbols, verbal styles, rituals,clothing, and so on.Function: Boundary-setting rituals and institutions that separatechallengers from those in power can strengthen internalsolidarity.Action: Collective identities can supply criteria for makingdecisions that compete with instrumentally rational ones. (Francesca Polletta and James M. Jasper (2001) CollectiveIdentity and Social Movements, Annual Review of Sociology)
  17. 17. • Niche society: dissent took place in pockets of private life, around home, car and allotment.
  18. 18. • Niche society: dissent took place in pockets of private life, around home, car and allotment.• Youth culture: Clashes between fans and police at banned concerts.
  19. 19. • Niche society: dissent took place in pockets of private life, around home, car and allotment. • Youth culture: Clashes between fans and police at banned concerts. • “Dissent could only take place in gaps in the system of social control that dissidents could exploit. In the GDR this principally meant the churches.” (Steven Pfaff (2006): Exit-Voice Dynamics and the Collapseof East Germany)
  20. 20. Identity:
  21. 21. Identity: • Identities: Status Quo (G) or Oppositional (O)
  22. 22. Identity: • Identities: Status Quo (G) or Oppositional (O) • Ideal Attributes
  23. 23. Identity: • Identities: Status Quo (G) or Oppositional (O) • Ideal Attributes • Norms: Conform (Status Quo) or Dissent (Oppositional)
  24. 24. Identity: • Identities: Status Quo (G) or Oppositional (O) • Ideal Attributes • Norms: Conform (Status Quo) or Dissent (Oppositional)Choices:
  25. 25. Identity: • Identities: Status Quo (G) or Oppositional (O) • Ideal Attributes • Norms: Conform (Status Quo) or Dissent (Oppositional)Choices: • Adopt an identity: G or O?
  26. 26. Identity: • Identities: Status Quo (G) or Oppositional (O) • Ideal Attributes • Norms: Conform (Status Quo) or Dissent (Oppositional)Choices: • Adopt an identity: G or O? • Choose an action: d = 0 or d = 1?
  27. 27. 1 O G x*Utility 0 ‐1 0 1 Status
  28. 28. Active Dissent 0 1 0Hegemony 1
  29. 29. An institution I is characterized by:
  30. 30. An institution I is characterized by: Status (xI ) Natural membership of the institution. We can say that the identity of the institution is the optimal identity of an individual with status xI
  31. 31. An institution I is characterized by: Status (xI ) Natural membership of the institution. We can say that the identity of the institution is the optimal identity of an individual with status xIBreadth (δ) Individuals with status x ∈ [xI − δ, xI + δ] are members of I
  32. 32. An institution I is characterized by: Status (xI ) Natural membership of the institution. We can say that the identity of the institution is the optimal identity of an individual with status xIBreadth (δ) Individuals with status x ∈ [xI − δ, xI + δ] are members of IMembership (m) Cost of membership for individuals whose identity differs from the identity of the institution
  33. 33. 5 δ=0.10 δ=0.13Membership Discrimination 4 δ=0.16 3 2 1 0 0 x* 1 Status
  34. 34. [S]ometimes repression inspires more mobilization; andsometimes it efectively quashes movements or pushes themunderground. Sometimes repressive forces are successful incharacterizing protesters as legitimate targets of repression,and other times they deligitimize the State and increase thelegitimacy of the social movements. (Francesca Polletta and James Jasper)
  35. 35. The function of a civil resistance is to provoke response and wewill continue to provoke until they respond or change the law.They are not in control; we are. (M. K. Gandhi)
  36. 36. Censorship makes every banned text, bad or good, into anextraordinary text. (Karl Marx)
  37. 37. Membership Discrimination 0 1 2 3 4 5 0 x*Status xmax 1
  38. 38. 5 δ = 0.1 δ = 0.2Membership Discrimination 4 3 2 1 0 x* 0 1 Status
  39. 39. The government’s dismissive handling of the exiting crisis andits brutal attacks on peaceful protesters during the fortiethanniversary …probably activated what might have otherwiseremained despairing, but inert, citizens.“Wir sind das volk” [was] a thin claim, but an uncomplicated “usversus them” message, a claim to political identity that couldbridge lines of class, education, neighborhood, and so on. (Steven Pfaff)
  40. 40. • France 1848: Campaign des banquets
  41. 41. • France 1848: Campaign des banquets• India 1930: Salt march
  42. 42. • France 1848: Campaign des banquets• India 1930: Salt march• China 1989: Death of Hu Yaobang, Tienanmen Square
  43. 43. • France 1848: Campaign des banquets• India 1930: Salt march• China 1989: Death of Hu Yaobang, Tienanmen Square• Egypt 2011: National Police Day, Tahrir Square
  44. 44. • Take rich sociological concepts of identity and institutions seriously, and use them in micro theories
  45. 45. • Take rich sociological concepts of identity and institutions seriously, and use them in micro theories• Recover cascades, but with a different revelation
  46. 46. • Take rich sociological concepts of identity and institutions seriously, and use them in micro theories• Recover cascades, but with a different revelation• Screening institutions promote dissent
  47. 47. • Take rich sociological concepts of identity and institutions seriously, and use them in micro theories• Recover cascades, but with a different revelation• Screening institutions promote dissent• Appropriation of mainstream institutions provokes a crisis
  48. 48. • Take rich sociological concepts of identity and institutions seriously, and use them in micro theories• Recover cascades, but with a different revelation• Screening institutions promote dissent• Appropriation of mainstream institutions provokes a crisis• Shed some light on the role of social media in promoting free spaces.
  49. 49. Thank you
  50. 50. Thank youtslee@web.ca tomslee.net @whimsley

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