I hope you can bare with me to see the points through the blurry presentation and unstructured train of thought…
In this blog we all touch upon the issue of representation in different ways, and generally the approach is around the question of the power of social media and representation in bridging the divide between the Global South and the rest, as well as in the role of tools for empowerment. The way in which the Digital Revolution is something that we cannot consider without also being aware of context. In my first post I tried to point towards the way in which geography surely plays an important role in the preconditions for being a contributor, but more importantly how different intersections in our social structures has an even larger impact on the way in which individuals and groups are allowed to take place online. For in this context we speak of the online context, in particular social media, but this not in a way where we disregard the non digital world. What this ultimately means is that there are hierarchies both within social contexts and between social contexts that affects the position, the power and the influence that we as part of different social groups generally can have. For when we in our various posts have, primarily, looked at larger perspectives such as the Global South in relation to the West it cannot be ignored that different groups have more influence through social media on the development policy and practice within a closer proximity.
Looking at Europe for example, the current issues in the North, and North East are highlight pertaining to developments in the Russian foreign policy. The elections in Ukraine are more discussed in terms of it being a part of the Russian politics than a sovereign nation-state in its own right. Of cause these discussions are also there but in a general sense. What this indicates is that the colonial reasoning is applied to a new context one very close to those who are defining it and maybe also without comprehension of the discursive power it may have in producing data. See for example this very interesting article on Orientalism applied to the Russia and Ukraine example on relation to Europe as the discursive power. (Hopefully it is more successful in getting the point through than I am)
Continuing on the same path, if you are Spanish speaking and reading news from Spain you may have already heard about this, but if you are not, then there is a high possibility that you were as unaware as I was until now…
Last Wednesday, a massive feminist strike paralyzed the streets of Barcelona, with thousands of women and their allies shutting down traffic and the subways, spray-painting feminist slogans all over city walls and occupying the offices of powerful political and economic institutions.
The article reasons around why there has been such little attention on this and proposes that it depends on the lack of media coverage in English… What I want to illustrate through these two articles is the way in which, even though social media and contributors are there, there is still a discrepancy in the move between the digital world and the majority information community. For in the first case, the data that is being produced is using an analytical framework that affects the interpretation of reality towards one which may be correct but may also be very much simplified. However, alternative voices will not reach the powerful and established channels that are used in reinstating the mainstream discourse. The same goes for the feminist protests in Barcelone, if you access the article you will see that various social media tools have been used to share what is going on, nevertheless, the media with established power and by tradition effect on discourse, on development policy and practices did not find it relevant to bring forward.
How many times is this not happening? Where demonstrations are taking place, where citizens and different groups have their say but where the effect in policy and practice will not come because the move between digital and the non-digital world is very far. Or when the dominant discourse is applied to analyse events, and in reality affects the actual understanding of the events, be they accurate or skewed.
Article on the Barcelone feminist demonstrations from Spanish media (in Spanish) – La ‘Vaga de Totes’: visualizar la lucha de las mujeres trabajadoras