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Bennet And Seggeberg

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Bennett and Segerberg 2012

W. Lance Bennett & Alexandra Segerberg (2012): THE LOGIC OF CONNECTIVE ACTION, Information, Communication & Society, 15:5, 739-768

Compared to many conventional social movement protests with identifiable membership organizations leading the way under common banners and collective identity frames, these more personalized, digitally mediated collective action formations have frequently been larger; have scaled up more quickly; and have been flexible in tracking moving political targets and bridging different issues

digitally networked action (DNA

We propose that more fully understanding contemporary large-scale net- works of contentious action involves distinguishing between at least two logics of action that may be in play: the familiar logic of collective action and the less familiar logic of connective action. Doing so in turn allows us to discern three ideal action types, of which one is characterized by the familiar logic of collective action, and other two types involve more personalized action formations that differ in terms of whether formal organizations are more or less central in enabling a connective communication logic.

a meme: a symbolic packet that travels easily across large and diverse populations because it is easy to imitate, adapt personally, and share broadly with others.

In short, conventional collective action typically requires people to make more difficult choices and adopt more self-changing social identities than DNA based on personal action frames organized around social technologies.

As noted above, the emerging alternative model that we call the logic of connective action applies increasingly to life in late modern societies in which formal organizations are losing their grip on individuals, and group ties are being replaced by large-scale, fluid social networks (Castells 2000). These networks can operate importantly through the organizational processes of social media, and their logic does not require strong organizational control or the symbolic construction of a united ‘we’. The logic of connective action, we suggest, entails a dynamic of its own and thus deserves analysis on its own analytical terms. The logic of connective action foregrounds a different set of dynamics from the ones just outlined. At the core of this logic is the recognition of digital media as organizing agents. Several collective action scholars have explored how digital communication technology alters the parameters of Olson’s original theory of collective action. Lupia and Sin (2003) show how Olson’s core assumption about weak individual commitment in large groups (free riding) may play out differently under conditions of radically reduced communication costs. Bimber et al. (2005) in turn argue that public goods themselves may take on new theor- etical definition as erstwhile free-riders find it easier to become participants in political networks that diminish the boundaries between public and private boundaries that are blurred in part by the simultaneous public/private boundary crossing of ubiquitous social media.

Important for our purposes here is the underlying economic logic of digitally mediated social networks as explained most fully by Benkler (2006). He


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