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A visual approach to mapping the intersection between scientific discourse, technological evolution, and social movements
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1  IT University of Copenhagen


The relationship between technology and sociopolitical change has been a major topic in academic discourse concerning political engagement and protest. Despite these two dynamics refer to different societal subsystems their relation has often been described through semi-causal relations as if new media could deterministically foster political engagement and spark protest [1] or, at the opposite if a specific socio-political context could deterministically produce technological innovation. This paper proposes to observe this problematic assumption through the lens on academic discourse about political engagement and protest from a longitudinal perspective covering the last 15 years of academic research. Aided by time-series visualisations [2], this talk draws a sociotechnical timeline of protest and media technologies scholarship to enhance our knowledge about academic research and, at the same time, to understand the perceived connection between media technologies and protest.

Keywords: Social movements, digital media, digital methods