IJoC Publishes Special Section on “Constructing Public Space”
From the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa to environmental protests in China, and from LGBTQ festivals to the Black Lives Matter movement, we have seen major forms of popular contestation in different parts of the world. In these protests and festivals, activists and citizens embrace social media, trying to appropriate these media as public spaces. In these protests, activists and citizens embrace social media, trying to appropriate these media as public spaces. This Special Section on “Constructing Public Space” examines 1) the types of social media practices involved in such efforts, 2) the particular political institutional contexts in which these practices are articulated, and 3) the techno-commercial architectures through which they take shape.
Guest-edited by Thomas Poell and José van Dijck, the Special Section calls for a shift from public sphere theory to trajectories of publicness as the main conceptual framework through which relations between popular contestation, mediated communication and power have been examined. This new approach aims to trace how moments of publicness are created, sustained, and dissolved through the mutual articulation of citizen and activist practices, media infrastructures, and the governing strategies of states.
Exploring how these connections take shape in contemporary protest, the five original empirical studies featured in this Special Section reveal that not debate, opinions, nor demands assemble the collective today, but rather the rapid circulation of emotionally charged images and slogans. Emotional connectivity allows fundamentally different actors, perspectives, and identities to temporarily come together as collectives to challenge domination and injustice.
We invite you to read the articles from this Special Section that published January 7, 2016.
Global Perspectives on Social Media and Popular Contestation – Introduction —Thomas Poell, José van Dijck
Participants on the Margins: Examining the Role that Shared Artifacts of Engagement in the Ferguson Protests Played Among Minoritized Political Newcomers on Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter — Lynn Schofield Clark
New “Danger Zone” in Europe: Representations of Place in Social Media–Supported Protests — Cornelia Brantner, Joan Ramon Rodriguez-Amat
Weibo, WeChat, and the Transformative Events of Environmental Activism in China—Kevin Michael DeLuca, Elizabeth Brunner, Ye Sun