Public space and public rituals: Engagement and protest in the digital age

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In our technology-based society, individuals have more tools that they can use to manage and ‘show’ themselves in public space. In public space, they are monitored by agencies using surveillance practices but they also share information through location-aware technologies. This profound condition alters social norms and, with that, not only change self-rituals practiced in public but also group gatherings in public spaces. With an emphasis on political protests, this commentary focuses on a set of related questions: what characterises contemporary self-rituals in public space? How are these rituals being altered by digitisation processes? How are these changes manifested in the performance of the self during protests? This commentary suggests that public protests in the digital age are ‘moments of togetherness’, accelerated by social media, which dramatically enhance personalisation processes in collective actions. Reflecting on the contemporary alteration of group rituals and protests as extensions of the self, the commentary ends with a discussion about the opportunities and challenges this might bring for future collective actions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalUrban Studies
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Activism
  • commentary
  • daily life
  • Digitization
  • protest events
  • public space
  • technology
  • theory

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