The Unmaking of Collective Action: Changing Organizing Logics in Civil Society Organizations Through Social Media Activism Culture

Suay Melisa Özkula

Abstract


Through social technologies, long-standing civil society organizations are confronted with increasingly autonomous social media users. This article offers an overview of these challenging times at ethnographic case study Amnesty International. During data collection, it was restructuring and diffusing its digital work throughout the organization toward a network logic, to tell a story of organizational social change in the social media age. It presents a view of how social media logics are constructed and embedded, arguing that they lead to the transformation of organizing logics in activist organizations as (a) they conflict with traditional organizational principles (network–hierarchy tension), and (b) the new organizing logic of connective action in social media activism creates pressure on organizations to change. Drawing on an ethnography conducted at Amnesty International, the article consequently suggests that social media logics lead to the unmaking of collective action.


Keywords


connective action, network logic, social media logic, network–hierarchy tension, technological determinism, Amnesty International

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