Abstract

There are important differences in how information technology is used in military and social-movement cultures. Militaries use social media in the Human Terrain model and security-police mode for quantifying and controlling social space, in order to meet low-intensity, counterinsurgency, and regime-maintenance goals (or for recruitment and public relations). For social-movement cultures, such as secular Egyptian revolutionaries, 15M (Los Indignados), and Idle No More, social media is an integral part of life; it is context. Unlike these horizontalist movements, military institutions are based on a hierarchical structure that precludes social media from becoming part of their organizational and decision-making culture. For them, social media constitute part of civil society, a commons both virtual and physical. The synergy between computer networks and decentralized social movements is clear when military, social-movement, and network theories and practices are compared. These differences are manifested in asymmetrical relationships to “veillance,” alternative modes of producing social technologies (especially protocols), contrasting theories of power, and opposing conceptions of morality and efficacy. The differences are more than a matter of how the affordances of information technologies match with the different technocultures. Horizontalist social movements incorporate new information technologies into their praxis as self-control, while militaries seek to subsume them into the existing hierarchical control paradigms.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1751-7435
Print ISSN
1743-2197
Pages
pp. 251-261
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-07
Open Access
No
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