#resistance. Exploring digital protest by marginalised groups (Leeds)

Anne Ganzert (SP 3) will participate in this workshop at the University of Leeds (18-19 September 19) and talk about “How do/can/should/could we think about #resistance?”

The workshop will discuss about the “explosion of research on the role of social media in contemporary social movements like Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, Indignados movement and the Arab Spring”. However, as the organizers state, “the everyday use of social media as a tool of resistance to challenge unequal gender, racial, colonial and economic relations” has not been explored sufficiently. The aim is to deepen the debate about these questions with students, early career researchers (ECRs) and established academics in diverse fields and activists.


Resistance as the workshop’s leading idea, has to be taken seriously as a theoretic term, as a self-descriptor, a call to action, as a buzzword, and a media studies concept. That is why, I want to question #resistance for its inherent dichotomies, forming some entities as set and others as resistant in relation to them, and for its different modes of ascribing meaning and power. This discursive structuring, the said and un-said or sayable and un-sayable in a system of (dis-)empowered agents is essential when we think about resistance. It is the moments of in-between, of changed directions, of counter-resistance that are at the core of my paper.

Without losing social media as a focus, I want to discuss, if all cultural practices are necessarily resistant and how temporality factors into this. I immensely look forward to the exchange with attendees from different areas and background. I also aim at reflecting on my own writing about resistance by discussing the central questions of my current research project: Smartphone-Communities. Dynamics of Resistance in Relations of Participation. In this project, we question the dynamics of resistance for their capability of opening and closing playing-fields of participation. The facilitation of peripheries, niches, and subcultures of smartphone communities as well as the immunization strategies of power centres are described as gestures of (re-)structuring or (re-)formation and thus as dynamic relations, that understand resistance as essentially processual. The paper will, therefore, offer theoretic reflection and concrete examples to foster a critical debate.

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