Ethnography Beyond and Within Digital Structures and the Study of Social Media Activism

Barassi, Veronica. 2017. Ethnography Beyond and Within Digital Structures and the Study of Social Media Activism. In: Larissa Hjorth; Heather Horst; Anne Galloway and Genevieve Bell, eds. Routledge Companion to Digital Ethnography. London and New York,: Routledge, pp. 406-418. ISBN 9781138940918 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

With the development of web 2.0 technologies and the recent wave of unrest that has affected many countries in Europe and across the world, a thorough exploration of how social movements and collective action relate to social media forms and processes is more necessary than ever. This chapter will argue that the emergence of digital ethnographic approaches in the field of social media activism have challenged the techno-determinism of much of contemporary communication research. However, digital ethnographers today tend to overlook the fact that social media platforms are shaped by corporate discourse and practice, and that these technological structures constitute a challenge for the everyday life of social movements. The aim of this chapter is to show that - in the study of social media activism - scholars have much to gain if they develop a digital ethnographic approach that takes into account the ethnographic tensions that emerge in the encounter between activists cultures on the one hand and the corporate structure of social media on the other.

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Book Section

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


June 2016Accepted
January 2017Published

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Date Deposited:

09 Jun 2017 10:13

Last Modified:

27 Feb 2019 12:52


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