SAGE Journal Articles

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Journal Article 1: Yang, G. (2016). The commercialization and digitization of social movement society. Contemporary Sociology: A Journal of Reviews, 45, 120–125. doi:10.1177/0094306116629409

In Western democracies, popular political radicalism declined in the wake of the protest cycle of the 1960s and 1970s. What appeared instead is a “social movement society,” where protest becomes increasingly institutionalized and “civic” rather than disruptive. As the editors of the volume The Social Movement Society put it, “although disruption appears to be the most effective political tool of the disadvantaged, the majority of episodes of movement activity we see today disrupt few routines” (Meyer and Tarrow 1998:20). A study of over 4,000 events in the greater Chicago area from 1970 to 2000 finds that “sixties-style” protest decreased while hybrid events combining public claims-making with civic forms of behavior increased (Samson et al. 2005). Although researchers have since expanded on and revised the “social movement society” thesis, Ramos and Rodgers (2015) find it to be still applicable to contemporary society in a new edited volume that aims to reassess the thesis.

Journal Article 2: Konieczny, P. (2014). The day Wikipedia stood still: Wikipedia’s editors’ participation in the 2012 anti-SOPA protests as a case study of online organization empowering international and national political opportunity structures. Current Sociology, 62, 994–1016. doi:10.1177/0011392114551649

This article contributes to the discussions on Internet mobilization and on international social movements’ ability to influence national policy. The event studied is the ‘first Internet strike’ of 18 January 2012 aimed against the SOPA legislation proposed in the USA. Wikipedia’s volunteer editors from all around the world took part in the vote concerning whether Wikipedia should undertake a protest action aimed at influencing American policymakers. Wikipedia editors are shown to share values of the international free culture movement, though experienced editors were also likely to be conflicted about whether taking part in a protest action was not violating the site’s principle of encyclopedic neutrality. Further, Wikipedia’s participation in this protest action allowed non-US citizens to have a visible impact on the US national legislation. As such, Wikipedia can be seen as an international social movement organization, whose 24 hour-long blackout of its popular website was a major factor in the success of the anti-SOPA protests. Wikipedia’s blackout was an expression of an international political opportunity structure in the form of worldwide awareness and protests, which in turn enabled a national political opportunity structure by informing and mobilizing American citizens.

Journal Article 3: Molnar, V. (2013). Reframing public space through digital mobilization: Flash mobs and contemporary urban youth culture. Space and Culture, 17, 43–58. doi:10.1177/1206331212452368

Flash mobs have spread, like wildfire, across the globe in recent years fuelling new uses of urban public space. The media has wondered if these events are simply pointless pranks, creative public performances, or mass social experiments in community building. Existing research emphasizes only the vital role of digital communications technology in the mobilization process. In contrast, this analysis shows through a broad range of examples from New York, London, Berlin, Budapest to Tokyo that these nascent forms of collective action are also important to examine because they provide insight into the intersection and interaction between new communications media and changing uses of physical urban space. It situates flash mobs in a historical context, constructs a basic typology of flash mob activity based on extensive Internet research, and theorizes it as a new form of sociability. It also explores how these examples of urban creativity have inspired commerce and politics to rediscover urban space, increasingly borrowing the organizational techniques of flash mobs in marketing campaigns and social protests.