Participatory Politics

By Christina Evans March 26, 2015 - 8:00am Comments
I grew up in Oakland when the Black Panthers were setting up free lunches and breakfasts for me and my classmates in Oakland public schools and carrying guns to defend themselves and their community from the Oakland police. I grew up not trusting the police. It wasn’t an active distrust, but a vague terror that the police might at any moment stop me, arrest me, beat me for no reason at all. I still carry that quiet terror with me 40 years later.
S. Craig Watkins Profile Picture
By S. Craig Watkins September 22, 2014 - 9:26am Comments
The fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. began dominating the national headlines instantly. One of the biggest factors, as Newsweek's Elijah Wolfson points out, was the use of social media by the residents of Ferguson as well as those sympathetic to the concerns about hyper-aggressive police tactics.
Addressing Race, Inequality Issues Through Social Media Power Blog Image
Liz Losh  Profile Picture
By Liz Losh June 30, 2014 - 10:22am Comments
I’ve written before about civic education initiatives intended to help model systems of political deliberation in the United States, but with my first trip to Latin America in April for the Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC) conference, I wanted to learn more about efforts underway in countries south of the equator. 
Do-It-Yourself Democracy Blog Image
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By Nicole Mirra May 29, 2014 - 9:30am Comments
Why is it that when young people use technology on adult terms, they are praised as 21st century learners, but when they use technology on their OWN terms, they are castigated as deviant rule-breakers? I’ve been pondering this question lately as I consider the national media attention that students from Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights, a predominantly Latino neighborhood in Los Angeles, have received in relation to the rollout of iPads for all students in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Innovators, Not Hackers: Stop Portraying Youth as Digital Deviants Blog Image
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 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
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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
Raquel Recuero Profile Picture
By Raquel Recuero September 6, 2013 - 4:50pm Comments
Brazil has several marginalized groups that often don't have a voice in government decision-making and are invisible to the majority of the country’s population. One such group, the country’s indigenous tribes, must constantly fight for their land against farmers and developers.
Social Media and Brazil's Indigenous Tribes Blog Image
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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
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
Cathy Davidson  Profile Picture
By Cathy Davidson March 14, 2013 - 6:10am Comments
Ann Pendleton-Jullian, the architect and educational redesigner, notes that:  “Design has the capacity to shape contexts as frames for things to happen.”  My excitement at being part of the connected learning movement and the Digital Media and Learning initiative sponsored by the John D. and Catherine T.
Re-Designing Learning For Democracy 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
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By Howard Rheingold December 17, 2012 - 9:00am Comments
If you seek examples of civic engagement by young people, look no further than the Community Innovation Lab, a mashup of Harvard students and faculty, the city of Boston, and established neighborhood associations. The core of this town-gown-local government hybrid is a course jointly taught by Harvard Graduate School of Design professor Michael Hooper and Harvard Kennedy School professor Susan Crawford.
Community Innovation Lab

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