4.10.2023 NRC with Barbara Pfetsch: Local movement activism and digital mobilization in environmental conflict

New Research Culture series lecture with Visiting Professor Barbara Pfetsch (Freie Universität Berlin) on 4.10.2023, 15.00-17.00 at HSSH (Vuorikatu 3, 2nd floor) and Zoom (link below).

Local movement activism and digital mobilization in environmental conflicts - processes of scaling


Wednesday 4.10.2023 15:00-17-00 at HSSH, Vuorikatu 3, 2nd floor and Zoom

How is local movement communication and activists’ digital mobilization related to the national and global levels of the environmental movement? This question relates to processes of scaling which are at the core of a study investigating the digital connections of a local environmental conflict in Germany. Protest against a coal mining project emerged as local inhabitants and movement activists contested the destruction of villages and complete deforestation that they believed to violate climate change policies. The research focuses on the conditions and pattern that emerge when movement communication on the ground is scaled up in digital spaces. We look at bottom-up communication of activists who use digital platforms to connect to the national and global environmental movement in order to extend their protest. We also study to what degree the activists use digital platforms to connect to local contention in order to organize resistance on the ground. Theoretically we bring together the concept of scaling from social movement research (Tarrow/Mc Adam 2005), connective action (Bennett/Segerberg 2012) and the research of geographies of contentious politics (Davies and Featherstone 2017).

Barbara Pfetsch is a Professor of Communication Theory and Media Effects Research at the Department of Media and Communication at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany and principal investigator at the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society. She is also involved in the Collaborative Research Centre “Re-Figuration of Spaces” (SFB 1265) at the TU Berlin. Her research focuses on changes of public spheres and political communication through the digitization and transnationalization and her projects include analyses of digital spaces issue networks, political discourse, (online) media debates and agenda building and the emergence of European and transnational public spheres.

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