Social Movements and Their Technologies. Wiring Social Change
Social Movements and Their Technologies. Wiring Social Change (a new book by Stefania Milan) explores the interplay between social movements and their “liberated technologies”. It analyzes the rise of low-power radio stations and radical internet projects (“emancipatory communication practices”) as a political subject, focusing on the sociological and cultural processes at play. It provides an overview of the relationship between social movements and technology and investigates what is behind the communication infrastructure that made possible the main protest events of the past 15 years. In doing so, Stefania Milan illustrates how contemporary social movements organize in order to create autonomous alternatives to communication systems and networks and how they contribute to change the way people communicate in daily life, as well as try to change communication policy from the grassroots.
From the book:
“The question of infrastructure might sound trivial in times of abundance of “free” social media, microblogging platforms and apps allowing people to voice their opinions and share pictures and videos at will, and at virtually no cost. But we often forget that these platforms are owned and controlled by media and telecoms corporations whose agenda focuses on profit and corporate interests rather than participation, empowerment, and social justice. With this in mind, in recent decades activist groups have increasingly challenged media corporations and state-owned broadcasters on their own terrain. They have created alternatives to existing communication infrastructure by setting up community radio and television stations, and alternative websites for self-produced information. Such grassroots media have allowed broader swathes of the citizenry to access media production and secure communication channels. They have become what DeeDee Halleck calls “infrastructures of resistance” (2002, p. 191) to the neoliberal order in the media realm.”