Movements@Manchester

On 17th March 2016, 3-5pm, Room G.6, Humanities Bridgeford Street, we’re delighted to have two fascinating talks on the basis of advanced PhD research. All welcome.

Bitcoin by BTC Keychain on Flickr (CC-BY)

Bitcoin by BTC Keychain on Flickr (CC-BY)

Thomas Redshaw: A critical theory of Bitcoin: How politics is embedded in crypto-currencies

In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, Bitcoin emerged as an alternative monetary system that could circumvent political and financial authorities. This paper will explore the political ideology active in the development of Bitcoin, an ideology that continues to shape the practices and beliefs of many engaging with the technology today. As with many technologies however, the early stages of Bitcoin’s development are marked by contestation. Some social groups reimagined Bitcoin to align with their own specific values and interests, and in the process the ideological foundation of the technology was challenged. This paper will put forward a critical theory of technology to interpret and explain these processes.

Facebook by Joe the Goat Farmer on Flickr (CC-BY)

Facebook by Joe the Goat Farmer on Flickr (CC-BY)

Veikko Eranti: Individualism and the political use of Facebook

Social media, with Facebook as a prime example, offer possibilities for political action, both in elections and for social movements. This talk focuses on two empirical cases: how self-organizing Facebook groups played a crucial role in the Finnish 2012 presidential elections, and how the like button is used for nano-level political action in the course of everyday life. Theoretically, these developments lead to the heightened importance of individuals in political culture. In the age of the viral social movement, who can differentiate between a teen with an engaging hashtag, and an established social movement?

internet, Protest Talks, social movement theories, technology