From Cyber-Activism to Technopolitics: A Critical Take on Historical Periods and Orientations in the Use of Digital Technology by Social Movements
In this article, we perform a critical analysis on some academic contributions of the past 10 years that either offer a periodical historical overview of the relationship between social movements and digital communication or convey conceptual distinctions that facilitate the identification of different logics of action in the former. The text highlights both a multidimensionality of factors that influence the ways in which social movements use technology and the coexistence of technopolitical orientations in different sociohistorical contexts. We also present our own historical periodization in an attempt to counteract overly compartmentalized, evolutionary analyses. The proposed periodization differentiates clearly between the evolution of technological development on the one hand, and the different cycles of protest on the other. Finally, the article suggest that a general shift is traceable in social movements from cyber-activism toward a wider technopolitical frame of interpretation that is currently determining collective action in contemporary society.