[-empyre-] Social Media Use across Campaigns for Social Justice

Murat Nemet-Nejat muratnn at gmail.com
Thu Dec 11 03:43:08 EST 2014

David's analysis equating electronic medium to power, rather than to
justice or freedom, is the point I was driving at also.

On Wed, Dec 10, 2014 at 11:04 AM, David Golumbia <dgolumbia at gmail.com>

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> the obvious logical fallacy in celebrating the usefulness of social media
> in campaigns for social justice is that what one is celebrating in practice
> is the power of the communications medium to realize whatever we think
> "social justice" is.
> but that power does not know social justice, however we construe that
> term. it is just power.
> consider parallel and equally specious formulations: "the power of
> language to create social justice." "the power of writing to create social
> justice."
> all real powers, but improperly framed. the power really being described
> is the power of communications to shape society and culture *tout court*.
> that power can be used for good or evil, and any thoughtful social
> philosophy will recognize that 'good" and "evil" are in the eyes of the
> beholder.
> unless someone has developed a filter of some sort that makes "social
> media" (or "language" or "writing" etc.) ONLY useful for that which we all
> agree is "social justice," what one is actually celebrating is a power
> which is just as useful for those who *oppose* whatever one's vision of
> social justice is, as for those who support it.
> it also obscures discussions of the affordances of power itself, and of
> particular communications media in their relation to power. I am not at all
> convinced, to take a specific example, that the things Twitter does that I
> consider hospitable to my vision of social justice undo or even
> substantially mitigate its uses for what I consider not good, in particular
> urging us to replace *slightly* more considered debate of important topics
> with the heat and fire of our very immediate reactions, separated from the
> bodily considerations that, in person, often make us think twice.
> there is no more ironic way to cross this "t" than to think about the
> incredibly fluent use of social media by ISIS. I have absolutely no doubt
> that the members of ISIS see this as directly contributing to their vision
> of "social justice." It doesn't happen to be mine. But the idea that we
> should segment off *our *vision of what social justice is, and then look
> at social media only and exclusively for how its power contributes to that
> vision, is one of the more dangerous developments in recent years. It is
> tunnel vision of the most pernicious sort. and it is everywhere in the
> scholarship on social media in particular: "I'm going to look exclusively
> at the thing I consider good and how social media contributes to it, and
> put aside any consideration of the things I consider bad." That's not
> scholarship: it's advertising.
> --
> David Golumbia
> dgolumbia at gmail.com
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
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