Networked Revolution? : a socio-theoretical assessment of how social networking sites can be used to achieve human rights advocacy goals

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Oyon Murphy, Eva
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This study explores the Social Networking Sites (SNS) phenomena and its potential to contribute towards human rights advocacy goals. It combines socio-theoretical and socio-historical perspectives to shed light on the new reality SNS present and their meaning as a tool in the historical evolution of human rights advocacy. It exposes the structural changes in the public sphere facilitated by SNS and considers this in light of an emerging global civil society, while taking into account matters of social exclusion and access. The study also considers what SNS can offer for human rights advocacy from the point of view of mobilisation and activism. By drawing on theories of social movements it contemplates the issues of identity, leadership and responsibility in an activity largely taking place in a virtual space. It argues that as a new tool (SNS) can bring into question ways of doing human rights advocacy that were otherwise unchallenged. It exposes the ways that SNS are being used as forums for collaborative production and networking, particularly by grass-roots activists. Finally it considers more practical issues and the important dangers of the darker sides of SNS and questions to what extent they can really be used to achieve concrete political and institutional change.
Second semester University: University of Coimbra.
activists, democratisation, human rights, social networks