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dc.contributor.authorMcPherson, Ella
dc.contributor.editorTumber, H
dc.contributor.editorWaisbord, S
dc.date.accessioned2021-08-25T13:13:59Z
dc.date.available2021-08-25T13:13:59Z
dc.date.issued2017
dc.identifier.isbn9781138665545
dc.identifier.urihttps://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/327112
dc.description.abstractThe rise of social media has seen its concomitant celebration as a ‘liberation technology,’ namely a technology that supports social, political, and economic freedoms (Diamond, 2010). Though most notably manifest in the media fervor around the Twitter and Facebook ‘revolutions’ of the Arab Spring, techno-optimism about social media’s potential for human rights persists in both the popular and academic consciousness. This chapter provides a framework for understanding how the use of social media intersects with the practice of human rights advocacy at NGOs. This framework is not to deny the disruptive possibility of human rights advocacy conducted over social media, but rather to ground related techno-optimism in the broad and complex terrain that influences this potential (Youmans and York, 2012; Madianou, 2013). Social media liberates advocacy by disrupting its traditional pathway to visibility – at least, this is the largely untested idea that has fueled a spate of experimentation and innovation among those practicing human rights (Thrall, Stecula and Sweet, 2014). Specifically, the hope is that social media allows advocates to bypass the gatekeeper mainstream media – whose newsworthiness decisions can seem inscrutable and captured by elites – to instead communicate direct-to-citizen and direct-to-policy-maker (e.g. Auger, 2013). Furthermore, as any digitally literate actor can publish on social media, this is complemented by the perspective that social media may be a leveler in terms of the equality of visibility (e.g. Nah and Saxton, 2013). These views, however, rests on an incomplete conception of visibility, one which focuses on the production of communication and overlooks the corresponding reception of that communication necessary for visibility to take place (Hindman, 2010). Furthermore, production and reception are not correlated; rather, communication is mediated by the fields it crosses between producer and recipient. In the case of human rights advocacy over social media, then, there is no direct-to-anyone. The visibility of this advocacy depends on the logics of the social media field, the target audience fields, and the political field(s) in which the communication takes place. This chapter overviews this field theory approach to communication before outlining in broad strokes what we know about each of these logics. Equally important, however, is what we don’t know. For different reasons, each of these logics is somewhat inscrutable – that of the social media field because of its novelty, mutability, and proprietary secrecy; those of target audience fields because social media advocacy effects are both hard to isolate and under-researched; and those of political fields because surveillance tactics are often covert. All of this inscrutability creates risk, and risk, as we shall see, is anathema to visibility. One of the benefits of the field approach is its concern with inequality (Bourdieu, 1993). As an actor’s ability to mitigate risk corresponds to his or her resources, it may be that – instead of being a leveler – social media advocacy is exacerbating inequalities of visibility within the human rights field (Beck, 1992; Mejias, 2012; Thrall, Stecula and Sweet, 2014). The chapter concludes by sketching a research agenda for the use of social media in human rights work.
dc.publisherRoutledge
dc.subjecthuman rights
dc.subjectsocial media
dc.subjectadvocacy
dc.subjectsociology
dc.subjectmedia and communications
dc.subjectICTs
dc.titleSocial media and human rights advocacy
dc.typeBook chapter
prism.endingPage288
prism.number27
prism.publicationDate2017
prism.publicationNameThe Routledge Companion to Media and Human Rights
prism.startingPage279
dc.identifier.doi10.17863/CAM.11940
rioxxterms.versionofrecord10.4324/9781315619835
rioxxterms.licenseref.urihttp://www.rioxx.net/licenses/all-rights-reserved
rioxxterms.licenseref.startdate2017-06-26
dc.contributor.orcidMcPherson, Ella [0000-0001-9207-1655]
dc.publisher.urlhttp://208.254.74.112/books/details/9781138665545/
dcterms.isPartOfThe Routledge Companion to Media and Human Rights
rioxxterms.typeBook chapter
pubs.funder-project-idIsaac Newton Trust (1208(J))
pubs.funder-project-idESRC (ES/K009850/1)
cam.issuedOnline2017-07-14


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