All posts tagged with 'politics'
1:30 p.m., Saturday, April 16, room 701 | Faculty respondent: Dominic Pettman
The Politics of Being Political in the Digital Age
The discussion about the relationship between increasing use of new technologies and political engagement has recently shifted to a new level thanks to the uprising in Tunisia and Egypt against authoritarian governments, Wikileaks’s launch of diplomatic cables and following DDoS attacks by Anonymous. Joined by academics, journalists, and policymakers, one group argues that the Internet and other new technologies enhance citizen participation and promote being political while the other group points out that less and less people are engaged in actual politics at local and national levels. What is not clear in this discussion is the definition of ‘being political’. In the midst of Twitter revolutions, DDoS attacks or Wikileaks cables how are ‘being political’ and its online practice defined? This paper attempts to seek the definition of being political in digital age through analyzing the debate on ‘Twitter revolution’ that was initiated by one of Malcolm Gladwell’s articles, published in the NewYorker last year. The common agreement in that debate seems that being political refers to the citizens’ capacity to participate in a liberal democracy. However this participation is mostly clickable (momentary) and portrayed as it should serve dramatic purposes or promote a cause/an idea. In that respect, being political in digital age shows similarities with the dynamics of a mediated (neo)liberal democracy and its conceptualization on the media hinders the bigger challenge of creating a progressive collective political identity that should continuously engage in critical deliberation and be taken into account in political governance.
Supplementary materials: “Small Change,” Malcolm Gladwell
Censorship in the Age of WikiLeaks: Identifying a New Propaganda Model
Censorship of information is not a new or recent concept, but the means by which governments, private corporations, and institutions stifle thoughts and ideas in the general public consciousness are constantly evolving.
Prior to the transition of the internet as a primary medium for news and entertainment, print and broadcast media in the West were subjected to self-imposed commercial filters, as outlined by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky in Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. This seminal work in media studies identified the “propaganda model,” through which media coverage and interests were viewed for over a decade.
The advent of the internet has changed this model, and has circumvented many, if not all, of the filters Herman and Chomsky outlined. Yet, as other theorists have observed, new forms of internet censorship are emerging as quickly as previous ones are extinguished. State-sponsored restrictions to free speech have been modernized in countries like China, Moldova, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates, while corporate censorship of the mass media continues to flourish, as has become evident in Amazon and PayPal’s compliance in the attempts to shut down WikiLeaks. Thus, the future restrictions to free speech are looking increasingly similar to those of the past.
Toward this end, my goals in this paper are to 1) explore different cases of telecommunications censorship; 2) identify the trends underlying this censorship; and 3) outline the philosophical and political implications.
Incendiary Tweets: From Liberal Democracy to Anarchy in the U.K.
In Understanding Media theorist Marshal McLuhan, following political philosopher Alexis De Tocqueville, alleged that England has never had a revolution because, unlike the United States and France, the country had never shaken off its reliance on oral culture and tradition; print and visual media never had quite the disruptive effect it had on other nations. Has a proliferation of new media has threatened to drastically undermine traditional power structures at the start of a new decade? When the Liberal Democrats were forced by their Conservative partners in the ruling coalition into imposing Austerity measures this past Fall, the response was spectacular. A proposed tripling of tuition costs, combined with an 80% cut in funding for Universities and an elimination of benefits for high school students, brought tens of thousands into the streets of London. Social Media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook allowed vast crowds to form, spread news of university occupations and allowed, through the #UKUNCUT network, roving blockades of some of the country’s biggest retail brands. Yet this was an uprising sparked by a distinct social scenario, not new technologies. This paper will attempt to argue that social movements both define and develop new media, while sparking rapid changes in old media.
11 a.m., Saturday, April 16, room 701 | Faculty respondent: Paolo Carpignano
Hope, Change, and the Pursuit of Political Participation: An Experimental Study to Reveal the External and Internal Hurdles of Youth Online Political Involvements
The Obama administration has introduced a number of government initiatives to increase political participation by young adults via the use of Web 2.0 technologies and their involvement with social media tools such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Though these communication sites have notably received traffic, their effectiveness has been suspect. We conduct an multi-scenario interaction study to investigate whether potential first-time voters who seek engagement with the government are able to successfully search and locate appropriate touching points, and how that process may, or may not, involve new media technologies. We augment the experimental setup with pre and post-surveys along with in-depth, one-on-one exit interviews. Our approach provides rich qualitative insights along with quantitative support. Our study shows how search is impeded by individual and institutional factors, and that social media tools are still underappreciated by users when cues are delivered out of their commonly anticipated usage contexts. Conversely, they may be over-appreciated by the administration, and serve as little more than a political public relations rouse. Through our critical analysis, we hope to deepen the understanding of the relevance of social media for the engagement of underserved groups, and interactions that reach beyond the traditional comfort zone of more experienced social network users.
@chavezcandanga and the Imagined Community of Venezuela
This paper explores how Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez uses his Twitter account to promote the ideas of a “new” nation of Venezuela, where politics is intimately tied to the personal and where the site of political agency lies in social inequality. How does Chavez’s incursion into the technological world construct the imagined community of Venezuela? What does his use of Twitter imply for our understanding of the possibilities of new media politics? Through a textual analysis of all of Chavez’s tweets from his verified account, @chavezcandanga, supplemented by newspaper articles from Venezuelan newspapers, I argue that Chavez’s use of Twitter shows the Internet as a complex site of meaning-making, highlighting both its radical and oppositional possibilities and its reinforcement of hegemonic and capitalist forces.
in diretta: Television and Italy’s Discontent
This project seeks to examine the Italian televisual experience as one absolutely demarcated from other European televisual experiences and especially American televisual culture. As television evolves, the Italian version continues to be the very quintessence of “televisual” in its liveness, talk, and ﬂow as Jane Feuer, Raymond Williams, and others have discussed.
In November 2010, the Italians threw a televisual rally on public television in four parts called “Vieni via con me” in which celebrities, politicians, and citizens came together under Fabio Fazio and exiled author Roberto Saviano to ﬁght against all that ails this beautiful but troubled country. It was in blatant, direct opposition to Silvio Berlusconiʼs longstanding government, his personal scandals, and his private television network, MediaSet.
On December 14, 2010, Berlusconi controversially won a Parliamentary vote of faith by three votes. His loss would have meant impeachment, Italian style. Rome subsequently burned for three days. But in a static place like Italy where talk is money and little changes, this televisual media event opened up unprecedented threads of discourse. The signiﬁcance and possibilities of this will be discussed.
A version of this paper was submitted as a ﬁnal term paper in Paolo Carpignanoʼs Fall 2010 Televisuality class. I would like to present an updated version of the paper along with video clips to discuss the current state of televisual affairs and political discourse in Italy with pointed comparison to Americaʼs televisual and political culture.
Supplementary materials: Come Away with Me – Final Dance | Riots in Rome (Text) | Riots in Rome (Video) | Roberto Saviano – Italian in Exile | Vote of Confidence | Videocracy | Bunga Bunga | Vieni Via Con Me (Come Away with Me)
Remediating the Nation-State
“Incredible India”, “Israel Wonders” or “Destination Germany” – the slogans of national tourism destination marketing are today visible components of everyday life: As advertisement in subways, newspapers, TV spots or over-dimensioned banner-ads. Benedict Anderson saw the nation-state “Imagined Community” (Anderson 1991) created as a narrative of ‘destiny’ of its people to belong together in space and time. This mediation connects through the media and public sphere the trinity of state (power), nation (people) and territory (space). In this paper, I analyze an emerging process of remediating the nation-state in a changed media- and market-environment (Boulter/Grusin 2000) not as local, national imagined community, but as global commodity and branded imagination. I focus on the analysis of the marketing practices of different national tourism marketing agencies. These practices remediate the nation-state in the changed environment of globalization in direct relation to the global flows of capital, people, information and cultural production, but also embedding the branded imagination into the diverse interlinked localities of media-spheres and consumer demand. Therefore my paper gives a theoretical, empirical account of the potentiality of the branded tourist destination in relation to the mediated “imagined community” of the nation-state. I contribute to the theoretical debate on the very issue of globalization and the nation-state, but not in terms of the crisis of the nation-state faced with transformative processes of globalization. Instead, by using the media theoretical concept of mediation, remediation and branding, I try to show the potential for a direct transformation of the very concept nation-state as remediated in the global flows constituting spheres of markets and media.