[iDC] introduction

Ragnar Lundström ragnar.lundstrom at soc.umu.se
Tue Jun 17 08:36:06 UTC 2014

Hi. My name is Ragnar Lundström and I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of sociology, Umeå university, Sweden. I research issues relating to political mobilization, net activism and civil society transformation. I have done studies comparing newspaper discourse to citizen journalism blogs, investigating the conditions for social support online, and analyzing political activism on twitter. At #dl14, I will present a paper co-authored with Simon Lindgren:

*Social Media and the Future of the Mobilization of Workers*

This paper analyzes a set of worker's rights initiatives with the aim of investigating and evaluating the role of social media as a potential source of radical transformation in large-scale mobilization of workers. Drawing on the case of labor activism, the project will provide an empirical understanding of the transformative power of social media: What can be achieved, and under what circumstances? And importantly, what role is played by the fact that social media, in themselves, lead to the emergence of a new digital working class?

First, we will make an inventory and assessment:
• Which prominent social media initiatives have been taken from within established
trade union organizations between 2003 and 2013, and to what effect?
• What non-institutionalized, tactics and campaigns relevant to labor issues can be identified in a sample of social media ranging from 2003-2013? What effects have they had?

Second, we will use the selected examples to identify success factors, as well as pitfalls, for effectively using social media for revitalizing labor activism.
• What strategies (content, form, communication model) have been employed, and which of these have opened possibilities for forming new coalitions and addressing new groups?
• What part is played by specific characteristics and affordances of the individual social media platforms used?

The overarching question is: How can tactics developed by grassroots activists through social media be successfully integrated in traditional union structures to promote revitalization, and to speak to emerging groups of digital workers?
Methods include feature analysis, discourse analysis and social network analysis.

I'm very much looking forward to the conference!

Ragnar Lundström
Postdoctoral researcher
Department of sociology
Umeå university

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