Social Activism in Post-Communist Countries and New Media: The Case of the Tent Camp Protest Action in Minsk, 2006
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Polish Academy of Sciences
Publication date: 2014-09-30
Polish Sociological Review 2014;187(3):291-516
Social movements, along with political parties play a significant role in socio-political life of contemporary democracies. As distinct from political parties, they do not pretend to take part in the direct exercise of power (though many of them do demand to be included into the decision-making process), but realizing their specific aims and functions, they exert considerable influence on the political process. Existence in a given country of wide range of social movements, struggling for their own interests is widely considered an indicator of a strong civil society. But how do social movements pursue their goals in countries with underdeveloped institutes of civil society? Does the intervention of new ICTs have certain emancipatory potential, which could be used by social movements to facilitate the desired social transformations? Is it possible to speak about the generational change in social movements, meaning new collective actors, using ICTs and Internet, significantly differ from those that can be termed “old” collective actors? In this paper, I analyze the ways in which new ICTs change the scope, ideology and structure of contemporary social movements and illustrate these transformations with the example of peculiar Belarusian movement,—namely, the Tent Camp, emerged as a result of falsification of the presidential elections in March, 2006, on October Square in Minsk.
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