Activism on the Web: Everyday Struggles Against Digital by Veronica Barassi

By Veronica Barassi

With speedy alterations in net applied sciences and the restructuring of the net political financial system, some of the priorities of our instances is the research of how within which humans negotiate, criticise and withstand internet advancements. This e-book attracts on comparative ethnographic learn among 3 very diversified political teams within the united kingdom, Italy and Spain, exploring how activists think, comprehend and adventure internet applied sciences as instruments of political critique.

Combining key social theories (Critical Marxism, Actor-Network thought, fabric tradition concept etc.), with ethnographic observations, the publication strongly criticises political financial and techno-deterministic techniques. It argues that during figuring out how new applied sciences are affecting political participation and democratic techniques, we must always no longer specialise in disruption and novelty, yet we should always in its place discover the complicated dialectics among transformation and continuity; among the technical and the social; among the political financial system of the net and its lived critique.

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In a decade of struggle and defeats two events have become particularly emblematic. One is the failure of the yearlong Miners Strike (1984–1985), which was perceived as a success for Thatcher’s government. The second one was the abolishment in 1986 of the Greater London Council, which was led by Ken Livingstone and other Labor councilors and clashed with Thatcher’s government. Thatcher’s policies largely impacted the movement’s political and economic influence. In addition, during the 1980s and 1990s under John Major’s government, unions had to come to terms with the re-structuring of capitalism, globalization, and the casualization of labor (Mayo, 2005).

International solidarity organizations are a particularly interesting site of research for the study of digital activism. This is because practices of transnational action had always existed, especially if one considered the history of workers’ solidarity (Thorn, 2006); however, digital activism has facilitated and transformed these forms of transnational activism. , 1998; Castells, 1996; Dagnino, 1997; Hardt and Negri, 2000; Waterman and Wills, 2001). When I approached fieldwork at the end of 2006, I believed that the context of international solidarity organizations in Britain was a very interesting field of research, where one could properly investigate the techno-historical transformations of the last 15 years by looking at people’s personal histories and testimonies, and considering how practices of international solidarity had changed.

In The Imaginary Institution of Society, Castoriadis (1998) argues that imagination is a defining element of humanity. Grounding his understanding in Aristotle’s claim that ‘The soul never thinks without phantasms (images)’ he recognized that imagination, intentionality and action were inseparable (1998:194). As a critical Marxist, Castoriadis brought together Marx and Freud and argued that dream, desire, wish, pleasure, and fantasy are all at the core of our social processes, and they are also at the core of political institutions and resistant groups.

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