Master of social sciences Savolainen Sonja

135000 €

(In)visible movements in social media: how media systems shape the strategies of social movements

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Nelivuotinen

How do social movements adjust to open and closed media systems, and on the other hand tactically use opportunities provided by social media and technological development in both national and global media systems? This research project conducts three case studies in order to answer the research question. These are the Climate movement in Finland, the Black Lives Matter movement in the US and the Hong Kong protests, between 2019 and 2020. The objective of the project is to widen our understanding of social movements in social media by comparing movement strategy, (in)visibility and anonymity in more open and closed media systems. The project uses different softwares for collecting and processing social media data, that allow the use of extensive data sets, exceeding 50,000 social media posts per case study. The data will be collected from social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and LIHKG, and smaller platforms. Additional data will include activist interviews and the surveys of participants in Fridays For Future climate protests from the Protest for a Future II project. The project combines social movement studies and media and communications studies for an interdisciplinary theoretical framework. The political process approach and the contentious politics approach are especially important for the project, along with studies on media systems, temporal continuity of movements in media and the strategical use of social media and ICTs. The project draws contributions from both fields to produce new information about how social movements are shaped by, adapt to and operate in different media systems and technological environments. The tangible aim of the project is to illustrate the impact social media and ICTs have on movement strategies and to compare social movement strategies in open and closed media systems as well as in global or transnational media. The project will result in four articles that achieve this aim and combine into a dissertation.