Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Mapping Out Civic Actions in China: Adding a Dimension of Media Centralization

This week I am working on a model to map out civic actions in China. I borrowed models on social movements in the field of political science and added one dimension, the level of centralization of the media involved in the civic actions, to understand various types of civic actions in China. I do not intend to include all forms of participations but to provide an analytical method when categorizing them.

1. Hierarchy of Media

Newspapers/Broadcasting: State-owned national newspapers (People’s Daily), State-owned TV (CCTV), provincial party owned newspapers/TV, Southern Newspapers (South Weekend Newspaper, which is ideologically liberal in contrast with pro-party media).

Routine Civic Actions in China

During the past two months, I examined the use of the term "media ecology" by different scholars and reviewed some works on Chinese Internet. One school of study on the media ecology defines it in broader way, and focuses on its fundamental influence on the society as a whole, the impact on the culture and its potential to alter people's way of thinking. I also wrote about how Chinese scholars approach the topic of media and civil society. They call for the redefinition of various terms such as "civil society""public sphere" and "political participation" in Chinese context and the stronger role of the state and the priority of economic development should not be neglected in our discussion.

Social Movement Media Strategies - Immigrants' Rights Movements

One of the central projects that I have been involved with during the fall semester examines the role of media and technology in immigrants' rights movements. I have been able to conduct several interviews with student organizers and community members, which have been very insightful into media strategies. The three most significant findings thus-far are: 1) The need for low cost and sustainable media and technology in order to facilitate organizing efforts 2) The centrality of social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter to reach communities at large and 3) The important role that national alliances and networks play in organizing efforts, especially in conversation with state level and federal level legislative measures. The goal for this project is to provide a comparative study of media strategies amongst immigrants' rights movements on a national level, in order to understand effective uses and also challenges posed. More interviews are yet to come, mostly from Eastern states, as much work on the subject has already been gathered on the South West.

The Spanish Revolution & the Internet: From free culture to meta-politics

Anonymity's Role In Activism

[I wasn’t able to spend time on IRC this week, as by the time I gained access to the Etherpad to see the assignment, I was at my office. Ironically, almost half of the links from the articles were blocked; gaining access to IRC from my current client’s office is laughable at this point.]

I’ve been thinking a great deal about the role of anonymity in discourse and consensus lately: anonymity as an enabler, anonymity as a deterrent. At his SXSW keynote last year, 4chan founder Christopher Poole referred to Mark Zuckerberg’s assertion that anonymity online could be equated to cowardice. Poole wholly disagreed with the statement, noting that anonymity “lets you create without the fear of mistakes.”


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