Tag Archives: conference

#QueeringFootball

(revised 24.11.2017)

The conference Queering Football took place in Ljubljana from the 17-18 November, 2018, hosted at the university’s Faculty of Sport. It was the culmination of a two year, European project to address, and confront homophobia in sports. Under the title Queering Football: Addressing Homophobia at Mega-Sport Events the conference brought together European wide civil society actors, LGBTIQ fan groups and activists, fan organizations (such Football Supporters Europe), anti-discrimination-in-sports organizations (such as FARE), and representatives of the Slovenian state, football players and athletics unions. A glaring absence was the Slovenian Football Association, who despite numerous invitations, never replied.

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Panel discussion on combating homophobia at the 2018 World Cup

The range of contributions are impossible to capture here, so some of the main points are presented, along with some thoughts on the topic. Through a combination of panels and workshops, the conference brought practical experiences into the discussion on how things have changed for fans, athletes, and sports institutions, and how major sporting events, such as the upcoming World Cups in Russia and Qatar (2018, 2022 respectively), can be pushed to ensure the safety and rights of gay fans and players, domestic and foreign.

The panels were a combination of short presentations on how an organization or individual is encountering homophobia, what they are actively doing about it, and what the challenges are in their work. Rožle Prezelj, a representatives of the Athletics union, spoke about the differences between collective and individual sports for individual athletes and how open they can be about their private life. In his opinion, it is less of a challenge for athletes in individual disciplines to be openly gay because they do not have to balance relations with team-mates in order to succeed. Moreover, the training team they surround themselves with is one they chose. That is not to say there are not still issues with athletes coming out, or with fans, but in Prezelj’s opinion, this has more to do with a wider social context that still views LGBTIQ athletes (and the wider community) negatively. This is also reflected in the public discussions around hyper-androgynous, and intersex athletes (most famously, Castor Semenya).

For Marko Levovnik, representative of the Slovenian sport syndicate that is effectively the football players union, homophobia was an issue that had hardly registered in their work thus far. He thought that addressing homophobia in sport is also a question of fans and of the union itself, as the division between these groups is less clear than it appears. Particularly the fans are influential here, as players know where fans are on the issue. A strongly homophobic fan scene will make any initiative to start discussions in the locker room almost impossible. In addition, in a country where 41% of players are not paid on time, he admitted that it was very challenging to also make the discrimination and repression visible.

Fan-activist Di Cunningham of the Proud Canaries (Norwich City), and Sofia Karlsson, gender equality officer for the Swedish Sports Confederation, spoke about the successes and problems of working with fans and institutions. The lack of support, or mixed signals from local FAs and UEFA/FIFA was a common theme. Fans being at best unresponsive, and at worst issuing death threats, also suggested this is a deeply divisive struggle even in social environments where homosexuality is no longer taboo. Speaking to the perhaps most extreme challenge presented at the conference was Alexander Agapov, of the Russian LGBT Sport Federation. They are working and organizing in a context where there are laws on the books to prevent LGBT being presented in a positive light. A vital point made here is also what is left for LGBT activists and the community after a World Cup or Olympics packs up and leaves? It is not enough just to demand Russia (for example) ensure fan and player safety during the tourney. Fans and organizations need to find ways for transnational solidarity and action beyond the media fest tournaments.

The conference was undoubtably a rich contribution to the ongoing struggle to make sport accessible on all levels. Yet the conference was not without a few lacks. As refreshing as it was to have the content come from mostly activistic perspectives, an academic contribution might have gone a long way to address some this wider context mentioned above. This point was driven home in a discussion I had with our Contentious Images collaborator Julia Tulke about the conference and this post. In our email correspondence she wrote:

I’m somewhat curious, though, as to the name choice of “queering football,” for that suggests a more wide-reaching gesture than just looking at LGBTQ* fandom and organizations. In my understanding of the term queering (which mostly stems from gender studies) as a practice it would mean excavating histories of queerness in football itself, interrogating the role of homosociality etc. Did any pushback against that come up during the conference?

The short answer to her question is no, but this is exactly where some additional, non-soccer, non-sport based participants could have brought important contributions to the debate. Importantly it might have prompted more  consideration of where these struggles addressed intersect with others. One of the workshops picked up the idea of intersectionality and common struggle with others discriminated against. Yet a deeper discussion on queerness in sport was absent from this final round of the project.

In fact, there was little discussion around contacts to, and connections with activists/organizations beyond sport, in the wider society. What challenges exist within the wider struggle between those in sport and those in other parts of the society? How can struggles for LGBTIQ rights be connected to other issues in sport (gentrification, labor, racism)? Sport, in this regard, often poses a challenge to progressive organizing, as it too often dominated by problematic masculinity or too dominated by commercial interest that exercise too much control over stadia and media coverage. Yet, we also clearly recognize the sport and the sport stadia as social environments that are not isolated from the society, reflecting popular (and populist) discourses, trends, etc.

This is also where the conference, and LGBTIQ fandom in sport intersect with my own research. While this conference was dominated by NGO and institutional actors, this is a struggle for rights and recognition, contentious in ways that it is also outside of sports. This is part of a wider struggle and social movement. Because it is composed on one side of fans, it draws on the tools of fandom to make itself visible. But if I initially felt uncomfortable with the dominance of NGOs and civil society organizations over grassroots fan groups, it became abundantly clear that without these, the fan groups would have few if any allies.

If I think about it in the Slovenian context where I currently research, there is no initiative of LGBT fans in the first division. If there were, it would face a deeply hostile environment, and I doubt is would gain much attention. It is even a question if it could rely on support from the wider community. Though Ljubljana is generally pretty embracing of the more mainstream LGBT community, the same is not true for the rest of Slovenia. With many fires still to fight, it does not seem likely that there would be much support for taking the fight to one of the environments least sensitive to this. Particularly if there is no hint of institutional support from any other part of the sport.

Here there remain some questions over where LGBT fans in sports can draw on for support? Where does their struggle for recognition intersect with other issues in sport? How might such an intersection produce a productive union?

There were other threads flowing through this conference, most prominently the position of UEFA/FIFA in as a source of support and a pressure mechanism in any place where these mega events are held. But these are topics to fill another post. Here I have focused on the discussions most pertinent to my work, and were I find this struggle reflects its social importance the most. In sum, the conference provided insightful reflections upon struggles that remain all too hidden, opening new questions for my own research.

Celebrate Football, Fight Homophobia!

A Brief Conference Review

On the 18 and 19 of May, 2017, the University of Manchester hosted the interdisciplinary conference Everyday Revolutions in Southern and Eastern Europe. We took the opportunity to organize a panel on visual protest repertoires and present our research project, the first occasion in two years to present together. Due to a general strike in Greece, responding to a fresh round of austerity, not all of us were ultimately able to attend, however. Here we’ll say a few words about the conference and quickly summarize our main contributions. While there is also a lot to reflect on in regards to the suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena on the night of the 21st shortly after the conference ended, we will not do so here. Needless to say, the death of concert attendees is a terrible loss for the families affected, and to the vibrant and diverse community of Manchester.

The conference brought together many PhD, post-Doc, and academics at other stages in their careers to present and debate research around the concept of Everyday Revolutions. The organizers write: “Moving beyond questions of radical transformation and irreversible political change, the concept of ‘everyday revolutions’ problematizes the overlooked revolutionary potential of small-scale resistance, grassroots mobilisation, counter-culture, liberation movements, and alternative provisioning, among others.” The Keynote was delivered by Prof. Davina Cooper. With the title ‘What good is playing at being a state?’, she explored the various meanings, manifestations and critiques of the state, and its impact on daily life.

With this frame, we chose to each present our individual work within the wider project of “Contentious Images, Unruly Practices.” We did not spend any of our limited time on the general framework, save a brief introduction given by Julia at the top of the panel. While the picture was incomplete due to Angelos’ absence, and the “work in progress” point we are at, the panel was ideal also for our own reflection upon the interconnections in our works.

In her contribution, Julia traced the evolution of her research project on street art in Athens Aesthetics of Crisis from a rather static social movement studies framework towards one more attuned to the contingencies of everyday life. Following Lauren Berlant’s understanding of the crisis as “an emergency in the reproduction of life, a transition that has not found its genres for moving on,”[1] she offered a critical feminist framework for understanding the current proliferation of street art in Athens as a meaningful intervention into the current political configuration. She described how the walls of the city have come to function as a living archive of the current historical conjuncture and a site for imagining new political potentials and encounters. Considering street art not merely as visual artifacts but also as performative practice, Julia argued that street art is not a static representation of its given socio-cultural context but also has the potential to actively transform urban space and reimagine everyday life by inscribing alternative histories and possibilities into the very surface of the city.

The focus of her analysis was with figurative artworks, expressive portrayals of the corporeal and affective impact of crisis and austerity of everyday life. By making visible the shared affective condition of the crisis, one marked by precaritization and uncertainty, street artists claim the walls of the city as a space for emotionally processing the continuous state of exception. The task of dealing with this deeply felt precarity is typically relegated to the privacy of the domestic sphere, as demanded by what anthropologist Athena Athanasiou calls the truth regime of crisis and austerity: “not only do people have to engage in a daily struggle against economic hardship and humiliation, but they are also called upon to bear all this without any sign of outrage or dissent.”[2] By visualizing this collective vulnerability of the everyday in public space, works of street art may eventually become meaningful as a basis and resource for political solidarity and community formation.

Next, Marija explored the multifaceted phenomena of video activism and how it is adopted and used by the feminist antimilitarist women´s organisation Women in Black (Žene u crnom) in Serbia. More than ever the vast amount of circulating digital videos and the influence they have today, both on our everyday life but also in protest settings, calls for examining conceptualisation, production, and use of digital videos in their local context. She proposed exploring video activism of WiB through a peformative lens as an act of visual writing of women´s history and their struggles and video as a visual artefact for documentation, representation and research of this history.

Special focus was on videos that were produced to promote a feminist model of transitional justice. This model is presented through the concept of Women´s Court, a unique model in the region of Ex-Yugoslavia, developed to offer a different safe space for all women (witnesses, activist and academics) for their voices to be heard. The aim of the first videos made by WiB´s video activist group in 2010 was to make visible the effects of various models of transitional justice, especially of the feminist approach to justice to the broader public, and to facilitate a change of values, ideas of peace, justice and solidarity (Women in Black, 2011). Today there are 17 videos produced around the topic of Women´s Court for internal and external audiences, which were made to document and represent the project: it´s development, implementation and discussions around it. The effectiveness of these videos is directly linked to their performative character. They should not be seen only as representation; rather, they can also have their own life, potential and power to create possible worlds.[3] Under certain circumstances they can produce countervisuality[4], new political subjectivities[5], articulate opposition or resistance and thus renegotiate or even reverse power relations. Moving images produced by WiB are not just presenting a new model of justice but are also showing internal (activists) gazes and powerful political images of women: attendant in the past and present historical political events, diverse, united, active, images which are challenging dominant patriarchal and nationalistic public discourses and have a great potential for the production of new political subjectivites.

David took the occasion to work out the central concept of “general atmosphere”[6] in his work. The atmosphere is composed of various elements, from bodies and sounds, to movement, clothing, and materials such as banners, stickers, and flares. But it is also context. The atmosphere is thus not just an aesthetic concept, but should be regarded as inviting also the analysis of the temporal and special moment in which it is being created. Deeply visual, atmosphere communicates the subject of the protest, along with its object and demand. When fans create atmosphere in a stadium, they are doing something similar, and when they protest, as in the case of Olimpija Ljubljana fans over the course of 2013-2014, they deploy the same visual repertoires.

In football, this atmosphere is a key dimension of the game. Matches are radically transformed without active supporters in the stadium. This in turn informs fan protest strategies, such as using the boycott, but it also is the core of free labor for the industry of football. Where fans generate exciting and colorful atmosphere, they are subject to a double exploitation: paying entrance fees and delivering a performance that the industry is able to use for promotion of its product (of which the fan is part – and this is in addition to their operating costs). In the field of fan labor this is an established part of the analysis. [7] But it has rarely been considered in the context of sport fans.[8] While the fan protest is generally not a radical rupture, and in the case of the Green Dragons is reformist in nature, looking at fan labor, the use of boycott as a tool, in conjuncture with notions of how capitalism is able to financialize affect, it becomes an opportunity to better understand forms of everyday exploitation. As a result, we are also better able to identify the dynamic between these forms of appropriation and those who resist and seek alternative social and economic relations.

***

References:

[1] Lauren Berlant, “Austerity, Precarity, Awkwardness,” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Montreal, 2011, https://supervalentthought.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/berlant-aaa-2011final.pdf.

[2] Judith Butler and Athena Athanasiou, Dispossession: The Performative in the Political (Cambridge: John Wiley & Sons, 2013), 149.

[3] Lazzarato, M (2003) Struggle, Event, Media. Republicart 5.

[4] Mirzoeff, N (2011) The right to look: A counterhistory of visuality. Durham: Duke University Press.

[5] Razsa, M J (2014) Beyond ‘Riot Porn’: Protest Video and the Production of Unruly Subjects. Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology 79 (4): 496–524.

[6] van Leeuwen, A, van Stekelenburg, J, and Klandermans, B. (2016). The phenomenology of protest atmosphere: A demonstrator Perspective. In European Journal of Social Psychology. 46(1), 44–62. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.2139

[7] Stanfill, Mel and Megan Condis, eds. 2014. Fandom and/as Labor in Transformative Works and Cultures 15. http://dx.doi.org/10.3983/twc.2014.0593

[8] Tarver, Erin. 2017. The I in Team: Sports Fandom and the Reproduction of Identity. Chicago:University of Chicago Press.

Everyday Revolutions

We are off to Manchester… in May! The conference is Everyday Revolutions in Southern and Eastern Europe, supported by the University of Manchester, and happily, our proposed panel was accepted. We submitted a panel on visual repertoires of social movements and struggles in Southeast Europe. The papers will largely correspond to the research themes of the contentious images team: football fan protests, radical left political posters, politicized street art, and feminist video activism.

Keep in mind we are still developing our panel and our individual papers, but broadly speaking we aim to examine how the visual is being deployed in movements, and also how scholarship is developing as a result. We are particularly interested in looking at the visual as both a culturally embedded practice, but that also break past local particularities, and a dynamic part of any protest or act of protest in its own right. This last point is particularly intriguing as it has yet to be significantly included in social movement research. We would like to see how visuals become an interactive, performative element of the protests, both in the moment as materialization of alternatives, and also in interacting with representation.

We are looking forward to this opportunity to develop our collaborative work, get some feedback, and all be in the same place for the first time since 2014(!).

See you there.

Call for Papers for the PhD Workshop

Focus: The theme of the Workshop follows that of the conference: (Un)Making Europe: Capitalism, Solidarities, Subjectivities.
The primary focus of the workshop will be on the preparation of an article for publication, but the workshop will also include a session on public facing scholarship and media literacy (preparation for public discussions, communication via media platforms and attractive self presentation), as well as address career development and provide peer mentoring and networking opportunities with other European doctoral students.
Number of places: We will select 20 PhD students for the course.
Funding will be provided for 3 nights’ accommodation (26-29 August) and meals in Athens. Up to Euro 300 will be available to each student towards their travel costs
Eligibility: Students registered for a PhD in sociology or allied discipline in a European
University. Students must be an ESA member or become an ESA member before the
Selection: Participants will be selected following a peer-review process and on the basis of scientific excellence of their proposed paper, but a fair balance between different regions of Europe and areas of sociology will also be considered.
Guidelines for applications: Complete the application form (see link here) with a short CV and submit them together with your abstract by February 1st 2017 via: www.esa13thconference.eu
If you are selected: You will be required to submit a manuscript of a full paper (about 7,000 words) by 15 June and media session assignment by 1st August to the workshop organisers. This is essential in order to make sure that participants get the most of this workshop; papers will be circulated in advance and allocated to peer discussants. We kindly ask you to apply only if you accept these terms of conditions and are prepared to follow the guidelines and deadlines.
Workshop teachers are members of ESA steering committee: Airi-Alina Allaste (director of summers school, Estonia), Helena Serra (Portugal); Monica Massari (Italy); Ruth McDonald (UK); Lena Näre (Finland), Eleni Nina-Pazarzi (Greece) and media session facilitator is Katrin Tiidenberg (Denmark/Estonia)

Everyday Revolutions in Southern and Eastern Europe

Cfp we are applying to. Might be of some interest to others:

The University of Manchester and Whitworth Art Gallery (2015 Museum of the Year), Manchester

Dates: May 19 and 20, 2017

To mark the centenary of the 1917 Revolution we are holding an interdisciplinary conference on the theme of Everyday Revolutions in Southern and Eastern Europe. Rather than treating revolution as a one off or irreversible political change, the event will investigate the revolutionary potential of often-overlooked mobilisations, movements, acts, actions, and practices.  Moving beyond ideas of popular protest and social movement activism, it will focus on phenomena which could be dubbed ‘everyday revolutions’, including but not limited to:

  • ‘slow protest’
  • small-scale resistance
  • counter-culture
  • liberation movements
  • individual acts and actions.

The regional focus on Southern and Eastern Europe will highlight areas on the periphery of the European project which face many of the same challenges. The conference will shed new light on the responses to these challenges. This perspective on social, economic, political, and cultural problems will allow better understanding of everyday ways of coping with, and reacting against, new political-economic situations on the ‘edges of Europe’, both inside and outside the EU. It will help reflect not just on the areas in question, but more broadly on contemporary meanings of Europe and its borders.

We welcome contributions from across disciplines relating to any area of ‘everyday revolutions’.  Examples might include responses to austerity, civil society and NGOs, informal organisations and collectives, parallel organisations (including currencies), trans-border activist co-operations, artivism, digital and sexual revolutions, and post-capitalism.

Proposals are encouraged for conventional papers/panels but also interactive workshops (musical, visual and other), workshops open to the public, workshops for children, films, slide-shows and other visual installations.

As the event will be held at the Whitworth Art Gallery, proposals are especially welcomed for talks or workshops which engage with particular pieces – fine art, sculptures, textiles, wallpapers, etc. – from the Whitworth’s collection (which can be consulted here:http://gallerysearch.ds.man.ac.uk ).

The deadline for applications is 16.12.2016. Please send toeverydayrevolutions@manchester.ac.uk proposals including:

Name & affiliation (if any)

Title of contribution

Type of contribution (paper, film, workshop, workshop for children, etc.)

Abstract (max. 350 words), including explanation of your contribution’s relevance for the topic.

Proposals for panels of 3-4 papers or jointly led workshops are also welcome.

Digital Technologies and History

Has digital production changed how we will remember historical events? This was the question I received at the round table in AVPC2016 in Zagreb. It was not one I was expecting, so my answer was rather awkward at the time, and I would like to develop my point somewhat here. It seems to me to be an important question. The short answer is yes, but with many qualifications, and in the end, also some important critiques. The longer answer follows below, and the focus is on the more practical dimensions of digital media tools in activist and research contexts. The post covers what the explosion and easier access has brought to activism, giving an example of the media collective Komunal, in Ljubljana, and to research. It then covers some of the problems that come with the greater access and use of digital technologies.

The “Yes” part.

The greater access to technology has meant more is produced, faster: we have more people who can document something and share it. The cost and portability is a big factor here. Now a film like Blokada (2016) is possible; a rapidly evolving situation can be covered as it develops, just with a few hand-held cameras, a short (or possibly even no) planning period, and a lot of spontaneous developments and coordination. The cameras are able to move as quickly as the people and the situations.

A person unfamiliar with the technology can easily produce an intelligible image. The digital nature of the image also means no expensive film stock must be constantly bought, loaded, transferred, processed and stored. With just a few memory cards and batteries, and the camera and maybe an external microphone, you can run and shoot all day.

Editing is now also possible from your desktop. There is high end, but still user friendly editing software that can be easily acquired, some at a cost, others for free. So the material can be instantly transferred to the computer or an external disk and then uploaded in to the software, cut and exported onto some online platform, such as youtube or vimeo. For activists in particularly, this has made things much faster. In combination with social media distribution networks, getting things out into public discourse is possible more often and at a faster rate.

Thus activists, and activist film makers, for relatively little money, can establish a media presence and create counter-narratives that can be of high quality, can be quickly produced, and quickly distributed within the network and to their local media. They can produce whole films with DIY knowledge and budgets.

It is also worth pointing out that here the sharing follows a logic of abundance, where use and reproduction increase the quantity of the good or service. I can send one video file in an email to three hundred people, and thus instantly reproduce the film three hundred times for the cost of the few moments of electricity, and with little quality degradation. These reproductive possibilities that do not depend on any additional (or very few) material costs mean access and sharing of the film, or video, or power point, etc., actually increase its availability. Use thus increases the item, rather than reducing or damaging it.

An example from Komunal.org

I used the recent events in Ljubljana, specifically ROG, to highlight the above comments. In short, ROG, a squatted factory, is under threat of eviction from the municipality intent on demolishing some of the buildings. There is no pending investment for remodeling, despite the intention of turning ROG into a center for cultural production (which it already is, just autonomous and self-organized). Yet the municipality sought to impose the deconstruction of some buildings in order to secure open work permits for the next few years (ready, one assumes, for eventual investment). The start of this procedure came at 3am on the 14 of June. A private security firm entered the squat with a large construction digger. The community was ready and resisted, which provoked a violent reaction from the security guards.

Long story short, the struggle was caught on multiple camera phones and video cameras and released bit by bit through komunal. Komunal is a media collective in Ljubljana, Slovenia that produces and provides a platform for media production related to the radical left scene in Slovenia and abroad. The collective has developed a website and uses social media (twitter and Facebook) to share content. According to the website, the aim here is to

Our platform is an attempt to provide better access to issues, events and perspectives ignored by other media. We see our production as research into invisible and misunderstood social conditions. Media in this capacity plays a critical role in opening social conflicts by exposing social contradictions and isolation, oppressions, exploitations and social, political and economic injustice.[1]

In this situation it was the first site to have such media up and sent around. It was quickly picked up by larger media portals and the evening news. This effectively put a perspective into in the public discourse (first, before any other) from within the squat, with the users of ROG as the victims of violence. This was possible because of the ease of producing such material in the digital era. Any future memorializing of this event, of transformation of the city, gentrification, etc. will have this perspective easily accessible as a result.

For researchers, this has also opened new potential for producing material within the research frame. The digital camera (with video capabilities) can fit in your pocket or is integrated into your phone, making it at once more accessible and also less obvious and awkward. Sarah Pink’s work in documenting daily life, for example, takes place in homes (2012) or on the streets with the slow city movement (2008). The use large, heavy cameras would greatly restrict such practices, and make it much harder for researchers to become (at least partially) part of the scene. The documenting of an event as it unfolds, or returning to the site of an event and visually reconstructing it, examining the consequences, etc., and made much easier as a result of access to this cheap technology.

Greater use of these technologies in research can also lead to articulating results in different ways, and thus making, potentially, the results more accessible to a wider audience. This seems to be the theory behind launching the Video Journal of Education and Pedagogy[2]. The predominance of written text confines the image and the video to a bit part, accompanying the narrative in the way that sprinkles do ice cream. But increasingly it is becoming possible to produce picture essays, and now even video articles. Here the hierarchy of text over image is broken down. The picture essay or video article has its own attraction to researchers, but presumably also to audiences, particularly ones who may not read an academic article. I imagine that in a school setting, where a multitude of learning styles is present, such options are important. This also allows us to reimagine the function of the visual in everyday life and where our interaction with the visual produces (new)realities.

The critique bit

So when we consider this in the context of the impact it can have on history, it is of course immense. More records are simply going to be available, from many different perspectives (assuming of course that we retain our access to such technologies in the future). The historical records that this allows us to leave behind is simply staggering, and at such little cost. However, here we must also take account of some of the problems and limitations of this situation. First, leading off of the last point, more perspectives and more videos, etc., does not mean a more accurate, quality historical record. In the worst case it also can just mean more noise and factual, ideological distortions to weed through. It is also easier to hide behind an avatar, making the future sourcing of materials all the more difficult.

The abundance and relative cheap cost masks the reality of most people still not having access to such equipment and knowledge. Outside of a relatively small part of the world, and in the poorer classes, these cheap cameras are still economically unreachable. Along with this comes a large environmental cost to the production of this technology, which at its origin starts with mineral extraction in (often) slave like conditions for the workers. From mainstream leftists like Paul Mason to more radical, academic voices like Michael Hart and Antonio Negri (2004), the notion too often is that the abundance logic of affective labor and non-material labor is achieved through the democratized access to technology and its simplicity. Their argument is that a form of commoning is occurring thanks to the centrality of our immaterial labor and the technologies supporting that labor. However, Silvia Federici (2006) has argued that this ignorance of the production chain profoundly undermines social movements’ claims on justice, and renders invisible forms of labor and exploitation.

The concentration of this technology in wealthier parts of the country also means that the dominant narratives and experiences will again find their voice the easiest and exclude the subaltern ones. As Federici’s critique suggests, the same is true of critical feminist voices. The content produced is thus still highly gendered and subject to global class relations, where the critical voices heard are still just the usual suspects. So even where these narratives are critical it is still problematic as they represent European and North American masculine realities and experiences that should not speak for the world.

An old, yet still valid concern with visual materials is of course the perspective of truth. Is it true because we see it happening on video or in a picture? In short, no. Video is always a representation and not a whole context. The person filming is already making editorial choices before they even turn on the camera: which situations to cover, where to stand, what kind of images to look for, what to ask (if doing interviews), etc. Gillian Rose (2001, 2) reminds us that images “interpret the world; they display it in very particular ways; they represent it.” This is always true, regardless of whether you have five of five hundred images of a situation.

A final point is that abundance of production does not translate into quality productions, important content, or ethical content. It can be used by racist movements just as easily, and the lack of any standards or control means it can be used in harmful, exploitative ways, as it always has. Only now it is perhaps easier to give a response, and create a counter narrative. In short, we need to be careful of claims that the increasing availability and ease of use of documentation technology radically changes the power relations in a society or gives greater power to social justice movements, even while it clearly can and does influence how events will be remembered.

In conclusion, this piece has attempted to reflect briefly on the impact that digital media has had on activism and research in the context of how something is remembered down the line. While I argue that it absolutely can influence public knowledge of something, and diversify the means of representation (and thus the accessible views), this is not without a few problems. There are important ecological questions here, as well as older questions of what and how, and by whom, something is represented. Greater access can, but does not necessarily answer these questions.

Refrences

Federici, Silvia (2006). “Precarious Labor: A Feminist Viewpoint”. On https://inthemiddleofthewhirlwind.wordpress.com/precarious-labor-a-feminist-viewpoint/ (last accessed 13.6.2016)

Hardt, M and Negri, A (2000). Empire. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, USA

Pink, Sarah (2012). Situating Everyday Life. London: Sage.

_________ (2008). “Mobilizing Visual Ethnography: Making Routes, Making Place and Making Images” in Forum: Qualitative Social Research Volume 9, No. 3.

Rose, Gillian (2001). Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to the Interpretation of Visual Materials. London: Sage.

Endnotes

[1] http://www.komunal.org/komunal-org – last accessed 5.7.2016

[2] http://videoeducationjournal.springeropen.com/

CfP: International Dissidence — Arbeitskreis soziale Bewegungen

Call for Papers: International Dissidence. Rule and Resistance in a Globalized World, International Conference, Frankfurt, 2-4 March 2017 From Occupy Wall Street and radical jihadism to protests against UN peacekeeping, right-wing mobilization in Europe and India’s exit from the Non-Proliferation Treaty – resistance remains a ubiquitous but ambiguous aspect of global social and political life. […]

via CfP: International Dissidence — Arbeitskreis soziale Bewegungen