Conference Program

Location

Lancaster Lounge - Moulton Union

Start Date

12-4-2013 11:15 AM

End Date

12-4-2013 12:00 PM

Description

For scholars interested in the role of information communication technologies (ICTs) in protest and social movements, the importance of organizations doesn’t appear to be as axiomatic. Work over the past decade researching “Internet activism” has raised fundamental questions about SMOs and their continuing importance to protest: Do organizations play the same role in online protest as they have played in offline protest? Are SMOs as necessary for online movements and protest organizing? What role or functions do SMOs play in online protest? In this article, I address these questions by first surveying social movement research on pre-Internet protest to establish how traditional social movement scholarship understands the role and impact of SMOs. I then compare these expectations to existing work on online protest. In the end, I argue that there are a variety of factors that contribute to the declining necessity of SMOs. Nonetheless, I point to some advantages that SMOs still seem to offer over other forms of organizing. Finally, I discuss the differences between a movement ecology devoid of SMOs versus one that has some level of SMO presence as well as reasons why SMOs might persist, separate and apart from the advantages the organizational form imparts.

Streaming Media

 
Apr 12th, 11:15 AM Apr 12th, 12:00 PM

The Future of Social Movement Organizations: The Waning Dominance of SMOs Online

Lancaster Lounge - Moulton Union

For scholars interested in the role of information communication technologies (ICTs) in protest and social movements, the importance of organizations doesn’t appear to be as axiomatic. Work over the past decade researching “Internet activism” has raised fundamental questions about SMOs and their continuing importance to protest: Do organizations play the same role in online protest as they have played in offline protest? Are SMOs as necessary for online movements and protest organizing? What role or functions do SMOs play in online protest? In this article, I address these questions by first surveying social movement research on pre-Internet protest to establish how traditional social movement scholarship understands the role and impact of SMOs. I then compare these expectations to existing work on online protest. In the end, I argue that there are a variety of factors that contribute to the declining necessity of SMOs. Nonetheless, I point to some advantages that SMOs still seem to offer over other forms of organizing. Finally, I discuss the differences between a movement ecology devoid of SMOs versus one that has some level of SMO presence as well as reasons why SMOs might persist, separate and apart from the advantages the organizational form imparts.