Donatella della Porta, “Communication in Movement: Social Movements as Agents of Participatory Democracy,” in Social Media and Democracy: Innovations in Participatory Politics, eds. Brian D. Loader and Dan Mercea, 39-53. London: Routledge, 2012.
In this essay, Donatella della Porta explores the relationship between social movements, mass media, and democracy; she notes that the three fields of study have developed simultaneously and separately. The author’s aims to prove that when all three academic ideas are considered in conversation with each other a blurring of the actors and acted upon occurs (i.e. the institution or individual receiving information and giving information can be one and the same). She begins with an analysis of the recent reflections of participatory democracies in the modernized world, which leads her to argue that interested citizens through social movements and mass media are able to exercise an oversight of elected bodies and participate more fully in democracy, even as voter turnout decreases. Second, she considers how technology based social movements have increased access for actors who historically have been denied participation in democratic governments. Porta concludes her argument by scrutinizing the relationship between communicative practices within social movements and their connection to democracy. Last, Porta calls for a framework which will allow for an analyst to consider the diversity of actors and the roles they play in social media, and she suggests that alternative media research be evaluated by considering “social movements’ visions of democracy and their effects on communicative practices.”
This article will offer one framework to work within, however I am not complete competitive that I could break down that frame work. This essay will receive more attention later.
As always, thoughts and critics are welcome!