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Academic study of how contending political groups do—or do not—leverage digital media in their quests to recruit support and members. Focusing on the workers rights movement in the battleground state of North Carolina, documentary filmmaker and sociologist Schradie points out a great gulf in technological sophistication between left and right, with the former “having belatedly awoken to the notion that they were on the wrong side of a digital political divide that they weren’t even aware existed.” Part of the problem, writes the author in a book likely to appeal most to sociologists and aspiring digital activists, is that many working-class labor activists have neither the interest nor the resources required to master social media even as conservative activists manage to form themselves into “hierarchical organizations” with the money to buy computers and the people committed to getting their message out. Thus, Schradie suggests, the image the words “digital activist” should conjure is not of a left-wing student or labor activist but instead a well-heeled think-tank denizen or technologically adept tea party member. Though the latter groups tend to be well-funded, it’s not only money that carries the day; it’s that very hierarchical organization that seems central. Moreover, as Schradie observes, the decline of traditional journalism has come in an atmosphere in which rightward organizations such as Fox News and Breitbart have filled the vacuum even as left-leaning publications have struggled to find space in the cybersphere and funding to permit them to compete. “As a result,” she notes, “digital evangelists were able to spread their anti-government message in sync with the convergence and ascent of social media, conservative news, and the Christian right.” If they are to compete, leftist activists must do more to gain access to media and attain the skills necessary to put out a coherent message; if not, the gulf will only grow. [Kirkus Review]

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A great deal of research and commentary about online spaces focuses on who consumes online content and how. But what about those who are producing content online? In new research, Jen Schradie looks at activism in North Carolina around labor laws, and finds that middle and upper class groups are much more likely to be digital activists, while working class – and predominantly African American – groups are not using online spaces for activism as much. She writes that not only do most working-class activists simply not have the time to be online, but they also frequently do not feel empowered to use online spaces for activism, an issue which can be made worse by fears about retaliation from employers.

in Internetactu.net Publié en 2018-09
SCHRADIE Jen
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Le Digital Society Forum (@odsforum) – disclosure : dont la Fing et InternetActu.net sont partenaires – initié par Orange est un site qui s’intéresse à l’impact du numérique et qui publie notamment des dossiers sur les transformations de nos comportements à l’heure du numérique. Dans le cadre d’une thématique qui explore la question de l’inclusion et de l’exclusion numérique, ce magazine publiait récemment une interview de la sociologue américaine Jen Schradie qui souligne que les inégalités d’usages d’Internet sont encore loin d’être résorbées. La voici à nouveau ! (Premier paragraphe)

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n less than a month, France’s gilets jaunes (yellow vests) have gone from being a celebrated example of Facebook’s ability to power a spontaneous revolution to a cautionary tale of how social networks can be manipulated by outsiders to provoke outrage and sow dissent. But in both of these extreme scenarios, the central actors lie outside France, whether it’s the platforms based in Silicon Valley or the suspected propagandists in Russia. (First lines)