new: social movements and their technologies. wiring social change

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book-coverSocial Movements and Their Technologies. Wiring Social Change explores the interplay between social movements and their “liberated technologies”. It analyzes the rise of low-power radio stations and radical internet projects (“emancipatory communication practices”) as a political subject, focusing on the sociological and cultural processes at play. It provides an overview of the relationship between social movements and technology and investigates what is behind the communication infrastructure that made possible the main protest events of the past 15 years. In doing so, Stefania Milan illustrates how contemporary social movements organize in order to create autonomous alternatives to communication systems and networks and how they contribute to change the way people communicate in daily life, as well as try to change communication policy from the grassroots.

Read the print-print of Chapter 1
Now you can download also chapter 2 'Three Decades of Contention: The Roots of Contemporary Activism" (*)

"Stefania Milan's brilliant assessment of the uses of technology by social movements is unique in its scope and insight. She has been a participant at several Indymedia centers in different locations, having spent time in the UK, Canada, Switzerland and Italy and she brings a global vision to the potential (and the problems) of the conjunction of social activism and the rapidly expanding internet. Her writing has the same energy and passion that she has brought to international conferences where she has become a favorite speaker and discussant. It is unfortunate that her book is so pricey but hopefully there can be a less expensive edition in the future. The issues she discusses with her extensive experience and understanding will continue to be extremely important in the years to come."
- DeeDee Halleck, founder of Paper Tiger Television and co-founder of the Deep Dish Satellite Network, and author of Hand Held Visions (Fordham University Press, 2002)


“Stefania Milan’s study of emancipatory media activism represents a distillation of her considerable research into its many forms over a number of years and in a number of countries, inflected by her own experience as an information activist. She gives full weight to the critical gender dimension of the subject, to a spectrum of technology uses, and the intersections with vital policy issues. Hers is a very substantive contribution to debate around social movement media.”
- John D.H. Downing, editor of the Encyclopedia of Social Movement Media

“Emancipatory communicative practices are at the basis of social movement action. Through innovative ideas and rigorous research, this volume has much to contribute to our understanding of media and political activism.”
- Donatella della Porta, European University Institute, Italy, and co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Social and Political Movements

“Social Movements and Their Technologies provides a rich overview of the Internet-enabled social movements that are working from the ‘outside-in’ to promote Internet openness and rights. Backed up with detailed empirical research, this book is a must-read for those interested in grassroots and alternative forms of political participation in the digital age.”
- Ron Deibert, director of the Citizen Lab, University of Toronto, Canada, and author of Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace

"Stefania Milan's Social Movements and Their Technologies is a comprehensive work on dissent networking and a must-read for anyone wishing a thorough understanding of the topic."
- Oxblood Ruffin, member of the hacker group Cult of the Dead Cow

"The use of electronic media by social movements has garnered considerable attention in recent years, with some commentators labeling recent upheavals in the Arab world and elsewhere as Twitter- or Facebook-driven revolutions. But labels such as these offer slim insight into the complex role that media communication technologies play in the lives of social movements. For those who seek to more deeply understand this subject, Stefania Milan’s Social Movements and Their Technologies is a good place to begin."
- Lyell Davis, reviewed for Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 2014 (91: 619)

Read an excerpt from the book
"The question of infrastructure might sound trivial in times of abundance of “free” social media, microblogging platforms and apps allowing people to voice their opinions and share pictures and videos at will, and at virtually no cost. But we often forget that these platforms are owned and controlled by media and telecoms corporations whose agenda focuses on profit and corporate interests rather than participation, empowerment, and social justice. With this in mind, in recent decades activist groups have increasingly challenged media corporations and state-owned broadcasters on their own terrain. They have created alternatives to existing communication infrastructure by setting up community radio and television stations, and alternative websites for self-produced information. Such grassroots media have allowed broader swathes of the citizenry to access media production and secure communication channels. They have become what DeeDee Halleck calls “infrastructures of resistance” (2002, p. 191) to the neoliberal order in the media realm."

(*) please note these are the preliminary proofs, and may contain errors. They do not fully correspond to the printed version of the book... but they are good enough for knowledge sharing

I wish to thank the Italian hackmeeting community for allowing me to reproduce the logo of the 2011 Firenze meeting on the book cover. You can find out more about the 2011 hackmeeting here.