Strategic Activism for Democratization and Social Change

Authored by: Cheryll Ruth Soriano

The Routledge Handbook of Strategic Communication

Print publication date:  November  2014
Online publication date:  November  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415530019
eBook ISBN: 9780203094440
Adobe ISBN: 9781136207129


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In the online space, minorities from the developing world, previously underrepresented in mainstream media, can rewrite their history and collection of struggles that have been erased in the national narratives of the dominant culture. This possibility for self-production of political expression is relevant for minority groups who have long suffered as objects of others’ image-making and issue-framing practices as it provides them with the platform for strategic mobilization to achieve political goals. However, there is skepticism about the actual value of online spaces in effecting agency in an Internet-mediated environment. Critical perspectives on strategic communication raise this debate on the organization’s ability to resist power, domination and control (Bourdieu, 1977). Techno-utopian promises that online media will empower the voiceless have also been challenged as issues of cultural objectification, commercialism, and state controls shed doubt on whether online media can truly be localized and emancipatory for minorities (Landzelius, 2006; Belausteguigoitia, 2006; Ginsburg, Abu-Lughod, and Larkin, 2002; McCallum & Franco, 2009; Brooten, 2010). Moreover, unlike businesses, government, or well-resourced transnational organizations, minorities are faced with conditions that complicate their position as activists and as users of technology. Yet, as minorities are often understood as diaspora communities in the West, and given the understudied nature of minorities from developing societies as online activists, the question of whether online media can be strategically used by minority groups to advance their political goals remains devoid of the empirics of social and political mediation.

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