Civic Engagement

Joseph Kahne Profile Picture
By Joseph Kahne April 14, 2014 - 10:07am Comments
Social network sites, websites and text increasingly serve as a conduit for political information and a major public arena where citizens express and exchange their political ideas, raise funds and mobilize others to vote, protest and work on public issues. 
New Media’s Role in Participatory Politics Blog Image
Zeynep Tufekci  Profile Picture
By Zeynep Tufekci January 9, 2014 - 11:20am Comments
From the “Indignados” in Spain, to “Occupy” in the United States, from Tahrir Square in Egypt to Syntagma Square in Greece, from Gezi Park in Turkey to #Euromaidan in Ukraine, the recent years have witnessed a proliferation of protests which, while embedded in differing circumstances and specific grievances, share multiple characteristics. Social media, an integral aspect of all these movements, is not a mere “tool” that is external to the organizational and cultural structure of these movements.
Capabilities of Movements and Affordances of Digital Media: Paradoxes of Empowerment Blog Image
Ethan Zuckerman Profile Picture
By Ethan Zuckerman December 10, 2013 - 10:05am Comments
The Oxford Internet Institute was kind enough to invite me to give the inaugural lecture in their Bellwether Series. The OII’s director, Professor Helen Margetts, introduced the series explaining that she hoped talks would anticipate what is to come in the space of internet and society…and explained that the word “Bellwether” came from a middle English word for a castrated ram, who was fitted with a bell and made to lead a flock of sheep.
New Media, New Civics?
Liz Losh  Profile Picture
By Liz Losh December 5, 2013 - 12:40pm Comments
“But I just want to remind everybody, we did not wage this long and contentious battle just around a website.” – Barack Obama, “Remarks by the President on the Affordable Care Act,” Oct. 21, 2013
Learning from Healthcare.gov Blog Image
Antero Garcia Profile Picture
By Antero Garcia November 7, 2013 - 12:30pm Comments
I can’t play video games. I forget this simple fact every couple of years and a dark cloud swoops over Casa Garcia and I am enveloped in the feverish button mashing of some complex simulation for a hazy month or two. I have the kind of personality where, once I’ve begun playing a game, I am consumed.
Pollution Challenge! and Civic Learning with Video Games Blog Image
Liz Losh  Profile Picture
By Liz Losh October 21, 2013 - 7:15pm Comments
On a recent visit to Sarai, a Delhi research think tank housed in the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, I met a number of female university students who described participating in the mass protests that occurred after a 23-year-old physiotherapy student was raped and murdered in what many perceived as an event that unleashed a torrent of dissent to expre
Human Rights and Social Media in India: Blank Noise Blog Image
Howard Rheingold  Profile Picture
By Howard Rheingold October 7, 2013 - 4:40pm Comments
Ask any teacher why they teach, and for all their other reasons, I bet they agree that teaching matters. Doing something that matters is being someone that matters. How could young learners today learn that they can teach and contribute to others’ learning? How could they learn that what they are doing – and they, themselves – matter? Angela Maiers has been igniting a movement around what she and others are calling Genius Hour.
When Students Say They Want to Change the World, Listen
Zeynep Tufekci  Profile Picture
By Zeynep Tufekci October 3, 2013 - 9:55am Comments
The Gezi protests took everyone, including the protesters themselves, by surprise. "This wasn’t what I had planned to do in June at all," said a man in his early 30s to me as we sat in the small grassy area in front of his tent where he had been staying for more than a week. His wife nodded as she fiddled with her smartphone. I asked her what she was looking at. "Twitter," she said, "I’m just getting the hang of it."
Pepper Spray and Penguins
Liz Losh  Profile Picture
By Liz Losh September 13, 2013 - 9:40am Comments
The horrific Delhi gang rape case in which a 23-year-old physiotherapy student was murdered as a result of a grotesque sexual assault brought tens of thousands of protesters into the streets of the city to express outrage about the prevalence of gender-based violence in India.  Many have credited access to sites like Facebook and Twitter for allowing Indian citizens to express their dissent, but the story of political organization and awareness campaigns on the ground
Using Social Media for Women’s Rights: Breakthrough Blog Image
Ethan Zuckerman Profile Picture
By Ethan Zuckerman August 22, 2013 - 10:10am Comments
With Rewire out in the world, I’ve had some time this August to think about some of the big questions behind our work at Center for Civic Media, specifically the questions I started to bring up at this year’s Digital Media and Learning Con
The “New Civics" and the “Born Digital” Generation Blog Image
Raquel Recuero Profile Picture
By Raquel Recuero June 28, 2013 - 1:05pm Comments
What started earlier this month as a protest against the cost of public transportation has spread like wildfire across Brazil. One estimate said protests have taken place in 430 cities. The range of issues has grown too, including education reform, high taxes, healthcare and public corruption.
Social Media, Citizen Media, Online Tools
Zeynep Tufekci  Profile Picture
By Zeynep Tufekci June 20, 2013 - 12:00pm Comments
Last Saturday, one day after I left Istanbul following an intense week of interviews with more than 100 Gezi Park protest participants, Turkish police forcefully cleared out the park, which had been occupied by protesters for the last three weeks trying to halt the construction of a replica Ottoman Barracks and a shopping mall in Taksim Square's only park.
Be Quiet and Don’t Move So You Can Be Heard Blog Image
Raquel Recuero Profile Picture
By Raquel Recuero June 14, 2013 - 10:20am Comments
Like Turkey, Brazil is seeing a wave of anti-government protests it hasn’t seen in years. Thousands of residents in several cities, including Brazil’s two biggest cities, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, are now organizing protests.
Social Media Fuels Anti-Government Unrest in Brazil Blog Image
Zeynep Tufekci  Profile Picture
By Zeynep Tufekci June 3, 2013 - 12:46pm Comments
Protesters from one of the world’s richest countries, one of the world’s oldest autocracies, and one of the world’s rising developing countries walk into ... a public space, use Twitter extensively, and capture global attention to their movement and their hashtag.
Networked Politics from Tahrir to Taksim
Ethan Zuckerman Profile Picture
By Ethan Zuckerman April 29, 2013 - 5:20pm Comments
I was recently in Senegal at a board meeting for Open Society Foundation, meeting organizations the foundation supports around the continent. Two projects in particular stuck in my mind. One is Y’en a Marre (“Fed Up”), a Senegalese activist organization led by hiphop artists and journalists, who worked to register voters and oust long-time president Abdoulaye Wade.
Citizen Monitoring of Infrastructure Blog Image
Ethan Zuckerman Profile Picture
By Ethan Zuckerman March 28, 2013 - 4:15pm Comments
Two weeks ago, I gave the opening keynote at the Digital Media and Learning Conference in Chicago.
Howard Rheingold  Profile Picture
By Howard Rheingold March 25, 2013 - 12:25pm Comments
Zeynep Tufekci, a sociologist who uses, as well as studies, social media, offers a refreshingly rigorous and empirically-scaffolded perspective amid the frenzy of armchair social science regarding the impact of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Reddit and other participatory media. Too often, public discourse about the influence of social media, both positive and negative, devolves into a Manichaean rhetoric of utopia-or-apocalypse.
Zeynep Tufekci: Technosociologist Blog Image
Ethan Zuckerman Profile Picture
By Ethan Zuckerman February 25, 2013 - 8:00am Comments
In late January, Austin Oberbillig and Evan Ricks, students at Olympia High School in Olympia, Washington made a video called “Lunch Scholars." The video was meant to be a high school version of “Jaywalking," a sketch Jay Leno has done for twenty years, where he asks people on the street near his Hollywood studio simple questions – who was the first U.S.
 Is Civics In Crisis? Or Just Changing Its Shape? Blog Image
S. Craig Watkins Profile Picture
By S. Craig Watkins February 20, 2013 - 6:00pm Comments
President Barack Obama recently ended his post-State of the Union tour in his adopted hometown of Chicago. Roughly two weeks earlier a group of young Chicago residents started an online petition at Change.org urging the president to visit and directly address the city’s gun violence crisis.
DML Conference 2013: Democratic Futures Blog Image
Howard Rheingold  Profile Picture
By Howard Rheingold January 29, 2013 - 7:05pm Comments
Ethan Zuckerman (@EthanZ) will deliver the keynote at this year's Digital Media & Learning Conference, "Democratic Futures," March 14-16 in Chicago, and we asked Howard Rheingold (@hrheingold) to vlog with Zuckerman, director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT and co-founder of Global Voices. As Rheingold, author of Smart Mobs and Net Smart, writes below: "Don’t miss the video. Zuckerman does most of the talking, and he knows what he’s talking about."
DML Conference 2013: Democratic Futures (Ethan Zuckerman, Keynote)  Blog Image

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