This article examines the civil society campaign to stop the construction of a military base in South Korea as a case study in both the promises and limits of global advocacy networks in the digital media age. First the article traces the historical and political contexts leading up to the 2007 decision by the South Korean government to locate the naval base on the coastline of Jeju Island, despite strong objections from residents of the targeted village. Then the article illustrates how local activists fighting the base gained support in the global peace, justice, and environmental movements, even if the larger protest campaign and the international media coverage it generated did not stop the project. The case illustrates how the notion of the ‘global public sphere’ remains highly contingent upon the readiness of local and global political actors to anticipate and overcome the persuasive and coercive powers of national governments as well as national political cultures that can enable authoritarian tactics to stifle public debate. It also illustrates how activists in the global justice movement often run into formidable obstacles when confronted by centralized political and economic power in specific national settings.
[Including this chapter, close to my heart:]
A Professional Kinship: Journalism and Advocacy
With media tools like video recording and Internet transmission now widely available, people and institutions all over the globe have the ability to commit journalistic acts.
Advocacy organizations such as Human Rights Watch and WITNESS have developed digital skills put to practice with the aim of informing the public—but also aggressively advocating for change.
Jessie Graham, formerly a public radio journalist and now senior media producer at Human Rights Watch, explores the shifting line between journalism and advocacy organizations. Advocates once depended on media to report on their research; now they can reach the public directly. Human Rights Watch and others also hire journalists, particularly photographers, to help with their work. The journalists’ reporting may end up on an advocacy website—and in the columns of mainstream media.
The debate about the rise of civil society in Mexico suggests that the processes of political and economic liberalization are multiple and uneven and, thus, have different and contradictory effects on different social groups. This study takes such arguments into account and examines the nature of collective identities and social networks that are more likely to be mobilized in the rising civil society. Who, with what types of social networks and identities, are the active actors in this rising civil society in Mexico? This study also attempts to identify the central actors who take an active part in multi-sector coalitions. As such a broad coalition often leaves profound effects on politics and society, it is vital to ask which actors are likely to take an important step toward multi-sector coalition making. Using a catalog of 1797 protest campaigns collected from three Mexican newspapers between 1964 and 2000, event frequency analysis is employed to find active actors and social network analysis – blockmodel method and degree centrality measure – is applied to uncover central actors. The analyses reveal that while workers, peasants, or students continue to be very active, the centrality of these actors in contentious networks and coalitions has not increased. New central actors in the rising civil society turn out to be civic associations and NGOs formed around single issues, such as environment, retirement, and human rights. When a multi-sector coalition occurs in contemporary Mexico, NGOs and civic associations are likely to play a crucial role in it.
The emergent new media ecology which integrates participatory media into the structure of global information flows has fundamentally affected the means of production and distribution of attention, a key resource for social movements. In social movement scholarship, attention itself is rarely examined directly; rather, it is encountered in the study of means of delivering attention such as mass media or celebrities. This conflation of the resource, attention, and the pathways to acquire it, such as mass media, was less of an analytic problem when mass media enjoyed a near monopoly on public attention. However, the paths connecting movement actors and public attention are increasingly multiplex and include civic and social media. In this article, I examine the concept of attention as a distinct analytic category, reevaluate social movement scholarship in light of weakening of the monopoly on public attention, and introduce and examine a novel dynamic brought about by emergent attention economy: networked microcelebrity activism. I examine this novel dynamic through case studies and raise questions for future exploration.
Here’s an urgent message from the Mozilla Foundation regarding micro-grants for work related to the ITU (deadline Wednesday night GMT) – read below, and send your application to firstname.lastname@example.org (do not send your application to mediapolicy.org or to OSF).
Open Internet Microgrants to Support Civil Society Engagement with the ITU
On December 3rd, the world’s governments will begin a ten-day meeting in Dubai to update a key treaty of a UN agency called the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Some proposed changes to that treaty could threaten Internet openness and innovation, increase access costs, and erode human rights online. We are urgently calling for projects that will help give civil society organizations that support an open Internet a stronger voice before and during that key meeting, the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT).
What We Want to Support
- Efforts to influence your government’s position in the lead up to the WCIT meeting.
- Costs for civil society representatives to participate at WCIT in Dubai, provided you are already a part of your country’s delegation or have otherwise demonstrated commitment and expertise in this area.
- Provision of basic technical infrastructure and tools that let civil society representatives on the ground in Dubai coordinate and communicate with each other, their home organizations, and the media.
- The call for proposal opens up on Nov. 12 and closes at 12 AM GMT Nov. 15 (i.e., midnight the night of the 14th).
- This is a micro grant fund. There is a total of $10,000 available. Ideally, we will be supporting 8-10 projects from that amount. That means your grant will be approximately $1,000.
- You need to be able to receive a wire transfer to a bank account. It can be your personal bank account. Individuals can apply.
- We will contact you if we have any questions or to award you the grant. If you have not heard from us by November 16, we will have chosen not to provide support to your project.
- Once a decision has been made, you will receive a letter from Mozilla summarizing the project you’ve proposed and agreeing to provide you the funds.
- When the project is done, you will need to provide us a letter telling us what happened, how it went, and what you think you accomplished.
We will give preference to proposals that:
- Ideally, show 1:1 matching support
- Demonstrate your capacity to effect positive change
- Facilitate regionally diverse participation in the WCIT
- Can be implemented quickly
What We Need to Know
Send an e-mail to email@example.com with the following information. If you are applying for travel support, be sure to tell us whether or not you are already included in your country’s delegation.
- Organization (if applicable):
- URL (if applicable):
- Project Title:
- What are you going to do?
- Why are you the one to do it?
- How will you spend the money?