Colloquium: Two visiting scholars discuss student protest in digital age

On Thursday, January 29, Marisa von Bülow from the Universidade de Brasília and the Pontificia Universidad Católica (PUC) de Chile and Cristobal García of PUC-Chile will visit the Department of Communication to deliver a talk titled, “Who Controls the Internet?: Student Movement Organizations and Protest in the Digital Age.” Join us in CMU 126 from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

Talk details: This paper presents preliminary findings of a multidisciplinary research project on the impacts of digital tools on collective action, which focuses empirically on the case of the Chilean student movement mobilizations (2011-2013). We analyze how the various actors within this social movement have incorporated digital tools as part of their repertoire of action. Using a mixed methods approach, based on social network analysis and qualitative methods, this paper uncovers specific Twitter-based protest patterns, and discusses the meaning of the changing centrality of actors in retweet networks over time. We argue that the incorporation of new digital tools in the repertoire of the student movement both impacts and is impacted by power relations within the movement. More specifically, formal student organizations have sought to institutionalize these digital tools, at the same time that other organizations, grassroots activists and individuals without prior history of activism have become empowered to act in different and innovative ways through the use of social media platforms.

Meet the Speakers:

Marisa von BulowMarisa von Bülow is a Professor of Political Science at the Political Science Institute, University of Brasília, Brazil, and Researcher at the Political Science Institute, Catholic University, Chile. She is the author of “Building Transnational Networks: civil society and the politics of trade in the Americas” (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and co-author of “Social Movement Dynamics: new perspectives on theory and research from Latin America” (Ashgate, forthcoming 2015). Her research on social movements, transnational networks and online activism has been published in Mobilization and other scholarly outlets.


Cristobal GarciaCristobal García is the Director of the iLab and Assistant Professor of Business Innovation and Design at Pontificia Universidad Católica of Chile. He is the Founder of the Jump Chile Entrepreneurship Academy and co-investigator of the Web in Movement Project. He is an external faculty at Columbia’s Center on Organizational Innovation and a Visiting Scholar at MIT.