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[liberationtech] Malcolm Gladwell on Traditional vs. Online Activism

Lina Srivastava lina at linasrivastava.com
Mon Sep 27 17:33:27 PDT 2010


Hi all--
I have a post on my site that looks at some of what you, Mary, have asked
here:  Take a look:
http://linasrivastava.blogspot.com/2010/09/welcome-to-debate-malcolm.html

(Jillian, your post is absolutely required reading on this-- thanks for
pointing it out.)

Lina


Message: 2
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 2010 09:45:59 -0500
From: Mary Joyce <marycjoyce at gmail.com>
To: Liberation Tech List <liberationtech at lists.stanford.edu>
Subject: [liberationtech] Malcolm Gladwell on Traditional vs. Online
       Activism
Message-ID:
       <AANLkTi=FBwXV7Kxee5Nj=cULzp9cxaTu6mveX2uYfxZg at mail.gmail.com>
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... in the current* New Yorker*:
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/10/04/101004fa_fact_gladwell?currentPage=all

Some questions:

  1. Gladwell draws an absolute distinction between the *strong ties* of
  offline activism (example of the civil rights movement) and the *weak
  ties* of online activism (examples of Darfur Facebook groups). Is this an
  accurate distinction?
  2. Gladwell reiterates the observation that offline activism is *
  hierarchical* and strategic while online activism is *decentralized* and
  ad hoc.  Does this distinction doom online activism to failure or just
  indicate a new mechanics of activism?
  3. Gladwell argues that centralized and hierarchical protest movements,
  like the civil rights movement, which "help us persevere in the face of
  danger" and "promote strategic and disciplined activity" are unequivocally
  more *effective* than a decentralized and networked movements.  Might
  this statement not be true under repressive regimes?

Mary

--
MARY C. JOYCE
Founder | The Meta-Activism Project  | Meta-Activism.org
"Digital Activism Decoded"  |  New Book Drops in Summer 2010
Mobile | +1.857.928.1297
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-- 
Lina Srivastava
http://linasrivastava.com
http://twitter.com/lksriv
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