Over the past 20 years, researchers have studied how the Internet frames deliberative processes. What is needed to create a framework for dialogue & engagement, & how can the Internet be used to create & support social communities? (Castells 2001, Dyson 1997, Rheingold 1993). However, these approaches have all taken a normative & meta-theoretical approach to the subject & are rarely grounded in empirical research. Much has been written about using social media in a rationally, purpose-driven or strategic way, relating it to corporations, political organisations, and the latest in relation to the Obama presidential campaign in 2008, where deliberative features were successfully used to mobilise and organise 2 millions activists through his social network, Mybo.com. However, very little literature addresses the deliberative processes, nor does much past research build on cases that have successfully used social media to mobilise people. An examination of Kirkeasyl (Church Asylum), a Danish social movement that mobilised people through social media, allows a better understanding of how social media can be used but also of how social media impacts the movements that use them. Kirkeasyl had no political affiliation, & activists across the political and social spectrum engaged in the movement to help reject, soon-to-be-deported, & deported Iraqi refugees. The movement was largely driven by value-based politics, action, political protest focused on the government, & actions directed towards the police that carried out political decisions. By employing social media, volunteers were found & mobilised for blockades and demonstrations when Iraqi refugees were deported, a large amount of money was collected in a very short time, & traditional mass media & politicians were engaged in the debate surrounding the Iraqi refugees. Based on the theories of Castells, Dyson, Rheingold, Ganz, & Habermas, this paper analyses Kirkeasyl as a case where social media was successfully used for dialogue, engagement, mobilisation, & as a springboard to spread the movement’s message & affect the political debate.
Social Media; deliberative democracy; social mobilisation; communicative action; communities; network organisation; Web 2.0
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17th ISA World Congress of Sociology 2010 Göteborg