October 2015
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Month October 2015

Lance Bennett in Mannheim

This semester, the MZES colloquium has proven somewhat of a highlight for researchers interested in the effects of the internet and digital tools on politics and political communication. Earlier this semester Rasmus Kleis Nielsen and Homero Gil de Zúñiga both gave fascinating talks on questions related to this. Next Monday, October 26, 2015, the MZES colloquium features another great speaker on the topic. Lance Bennett will talk about his concept, the logic of connective action. This talk should be self-recommending for you if you are interested in the role of the internet in politics, protests, and collective action. The talk starts Monday, October 26, 2015 at 12.00 in building A 5,6 room A 231 and is open to the public.

The Logic of Connective Action: Digital Media and the Personalization of Contentious Politics

A number of diverse, large scale protest movements have appeared around the world in recent years: the Arab Spring, the M15 or los indignados in Spain, Occupy Wall Street, the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong, and Black Lives Matter in the U.S., among others. These large-scale, sustained protests use digital media in ways that go beyond sending and receiving messages. In these technology enabled protests, communication becomes an important part of the organizational process. Understanding such large-scale action networks requires a different theoretical framework than the logic of collective action that is generally used to explain conventional collective action based on formal organization, resource mobilization, and leadership aimed at motivating participation and building collective identities. This talk explores a logic of connective action that is based on self-motivated, personalized content sharing over social networks that require less formal leadership or hierarchical organization. This organizational process is explained using methods developed to model information flows through an Occupy Wall Street data set of 60 million tweets.

W. Lance Bennett is Professor of Political Science and Ruddick C. Lawrence Professor of Communication at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA, where he directs the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement (www.engagedcitizen.org). The focus of his work is on how communication processes affect citizen engagement with politics. His most recent book is The Logic of Connective Action: Digital Media and the Personalization of Contentious Politics (with Alexandra Segerberg, Cambridge, 2013). He has received the Ithiel de Sola Pool and Murray Edelman career recognition awards from the American Political Science Association. He has also received the Distinguished Scholar Award from the U.S. National Communication Association, and the ICA Fellow Award from the International Communication Association, both for lifetime achievement in the study of human communication. He currently holds a Humboldt Research Fellowship at Free University, Berlin.