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W. Lance Bennett on "Democratic Mobilization in the Digital Age: How Occupy Wall Street Changed the Conversation about Inequality in the US"

Nov 11, 2015 | 06:00 PM c.t. - 08:00 PM

A number of diverse, large scale protest movements have appeared around the world in recent years: the Arab Spring, the M15 or los indignados in Spain, Occupy Wall Street, the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong, and Black Lives Matter in the U.S., among others. These large-scale, sustained protests use digital media in ways that go beyond sending and receiving messages. In these technology enabled protests, communication becomes an important part of the organizational process. This talk explores a logic of connective action that is based on self-motivated, personalized content sharing over social networks that require less formal leadership or hierarchical organization. The case of Occupy Wall Street shows how this kind of mobilization changed the national conversation about inequality in the US. However, the challenge for high tech crowds is to find ways to interface with democratic institutions. Protests on the right, from the Tea Party in the U.S. to dozens of populist movements across Europe have moved national politics to the right at a time when majorities of citizens are concerned about inequality, the growing power of business, and the declining legitimacy of democratic institutions. The imbalance between left and right political organization patterns points to serious problems for democratic participation in late modern societies.

Keynote lecture and official opening ceremony of the new doctoral cohort.

Time & Location

Nov 11, 2015 | 06:00 PM c.t. - 08:00 PM

Raum 340, Lansstraße 7-9, 14195 Berlin

Dahlem Research School
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft